The damage that our “Micro-Stressors” can do – it’s NOT just life’s BIG stressors

Unlock Your Wellbeing Blog

The damage that our “Micro-Stressors” can do – it’s NOT just life’s BIG stressors

Many of us are running at high levels of anxiety & stress for many reasons. What can we do to enjoy life more and feel less like we are just “getting through it”?
Whilst of course, the BIG things in life can cause us a lot of stress, it is actually the small incidents every day, all day that cause us most stress. These are our “micro-stressors”. They are very effective at causing us stress because they are so frequent and common that we often don’t even recognise or realise the damage being done. Often we can wonder why we feel so stressed – we look back on our day and think “nothing MAJOR” happened – but there were actually a wide variety of tiny assaults on our emotional system. Add them all up and they become significant.

Such as? What are these Micro Stressors?

Well – we will all have our own, but we can think of the following examples.
1. Instead of getting out of bed, you hit “snooze” 3 times and that left you feeling groggy – and now you’re going to be late.
2. The bin is overflowing again – it always seems to be full – already late, leave it till later
3. Thought you had charged your phone, only to find you hadn’t switched the charger on.
4. Light bulb blows as you switch it on.
5. Text from your sister – why is she so negative? Condescending? Judgemental? How can I be related to her???
6. Where are my keys??? ahhh – found them eventually.
7. Avoid eye contact with chatty neighbour, then remember you need them to take in a parcel next week, so try and wave to them – too late, they’ve gone.
8. Of course, there are no parking spaces left – hang on, is that someone reversing out? No, they are just straightening up, rats!
9. Receptionist says “morning” without looking up, as do most of your colleagues. Immediately worry that you are in trouble.
10. Friend texts you to go to the cinema – but you HATE all the films they LOVE. Debate whether to go along to keep the peace or say NO and risk losing them as a friend.
11. First email you read makes your stomach flip – someone appears to be very angry about something, and you start worrying if you played any part in it. You need a coffee.
12. Dishwasher has only just gone on and there are no mugs in the cupboard, despite it being a “workplace rule” that the dishwasher is put on each evening – now you can’t even get a coffee! Have you got time to pop over to Costa? It will make you late for your meeting – which is most important? Aaargh!
And it’s only 9am.
And you must remember to get a new light bulb – the right ones, are they one of those halogen ones or not? What about bin bags – there are some in the cupboard – aren’t there? And why is your sister wanting a “Family Meeting”?
We think that these Micro Stressors are just a normal part of the day – they come thick and fast throughout the day. They are a wide mix of things – some our fault, some our interpretation of other people’s intentions, some things that go against our values or the established rules at work. Added up, it is these small, seemingly trivial things, that can take quite a heavy toll on our wellbeing


How to deal with these Micro-Stressors?

Well, no-one can fix your life so that you don’t bump up against these things – they are going to happen. Identify them, name them, challenge them, deal with what you can, learn from your mistakes, delegate where possible and set your boundaries. These are some of the tried and tested ways to deal with these things rather than trying to ignore them, letting them fester, letting them rob you of your precious happiness. ENOUGH!!


Challenge your interpretations –

others may not be acting against you – they have plenty to deal with in their own life – it is actually rarely about YOU. Accept the things you have no control over – reframe them so they are more palatable – “that person cut me up because they are on an emergency hospital dash”. Let go of things out of your control, check if your expectations are realistic or unreachable and give yourself a break.


Make sure you have the FOUNDATIONS of Wellbeing in place.

⦁ Restorative Sleep
⦁ A nutritious Diet which will support your immune system and help your weight stay within healthy parameters
⦁ Good Connections with other people
Exercise regularly – burn off adrenaline and cortisol and replace with endorphins and other happy hormones
⦁ Make time for laughter, fun, reflection, awe, hobbies, music etc..

Nurture a kind relationship with yourself –

judge yourself fairly – there are plenty of people who can judge you harshly if they want to. Be proud of yourself and what you achieve – having a positive mindset will have the added benefit of increasing your resilience. Apply self-compassion.


Learn about Emotional First Aid

to be applied to those emotional knocks we get, they really hurt, but we don’t know what to do about it. A physical cut or bruise? – easy, you can deal with those, but the emotional wounds??? Nope – not a clue. And yet they happen to us MUCH more frequently than the physical hurts. Find out about dealing with them with our NEW Emotional First Aid training course. Email us for details


Good Luck – you need to persist with these tweaks and changes to restore and maintain your positive equilibrium – but this is a VERY wise & worthwhile investment of your time and effort.

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