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How Micro-Stressors Are Ruining Your Day

Those small, niggly things that often go unnoticed — or so we think.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

When we talk about stress, most of us jump straight to talking about the big things. You know, those large, overarching stressors in our life that loom in the shadows and weigh us down. To start, there’s our mortgage, income and taxes. Then there’s our marital problems, parenthood and friendships. And to top it all off, we have to somehow try to keep ourselves happy and healthy.

Those things are all stressful. We know that. What often goes unnoticed, though, are the smaller, less-daunting things that populate our day-to-day lives. Or, as Dr. Rangan Chatterjee calls them, micro-stressors.

A micro-stressor might be a bad night’s sleep. It could be a traffic jam on the way to work. Perhaps it’s an argument at home. Whatever specific situation crops up throughout our day, one thing is for certain. No matter how big or small the stimulus, these stressors add up. Together, they stand to jeopardize our happiness, mental health and just about everything that’s important to us in life.

So what do we do? Well, for a start, we can focus on reducing those minor stressors. Sure, our debts and careers might seem like far more pressing issues than, say, a bad night’s sleep, but it’s these small things that make the big things all the more difficult to deal with.

  • Ask yourself, what minor issues have irritated you today? The mess left by your children in the kitchen? Your husband’s lack of consideration for your feelings? The sound of your alarm this morning? Granted, they might seem small — but together, they’re significant. Mitigating these micro-stressors, whether by having open conversations with friends and family, making or breaking a habit or getting to bed a little earlier tonight could make all the difference.
  • Now ask, what can you do to prevent these things from annoying you next time? Are they fixable issues, or do you need to work on your own mindset?
  • And then, proceed to take action.

Try it. You’ll be surprised by the results.




Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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Adrian Drew

Adrian Drew

Owner of Mind Cafe | Let’s chat on Instagram: @adriandrew__

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