The stress of micro-stresses

Ever lost in a video game or snoozed your alarm multiple times or got stuck in traffic and felt mentally drained? These things may not feel that much, but when they start piling onto our mind, little by little, they can lead to burnout. 

It simply is a snow balling effect which can create tremendous amounts of anxiety and can harm the physical and/or mental health. 

What are micro-stresses?

Simply put, micro-stresses are those experiences which may not seem that much at the time of their occurrence. But they can slowly decrease our threshold for handling macro-stresses (like workplace stress, relationship stress, etc.) and we may not even realize what caused this decrease.

A big problem is that a lot of us have accepted these micros stresses a part of our lives and we rarely acknowledge them. A bigger problem is that it is usually caused by either us putting ourselves in some situations or someone close, causing these stresses.

Causes of these micro-stresses

Broadly speaking, the causes of micro stresses can be divided into these 3 categories:

  • Stress that drains your personal capacity
  • Stress that depletes emotional reserves
  • Stress that challenge’s identity and values

The communication stresses


When someone does not communicate with us, we start disregarding their side of the story and start feeling anxious that something must have been wrong from our side. This can happen in the workplace or in any personal relationship.

This may happen with people who are not very reliable but we have to work with them, people with bad communication standards, erratic behavior from someone and most importantly, simple misalignment of expectations between the 2 parties. 

The emotional stresses

Ever felt drained out just by thinking about negative scenarios in our heads? This leads to us being worried about people we care about or worrying about the impact of one conversation on another or of how our actions may have negatively affected someone. 

This happens usually because of some confrontational conversations, feeling that we are part of someone’s success or happiness and not getting credit for it, talking to negative people or just plain distrust in the set of connections.

The self-inflected stresses

Sometimes, the opinions we give or the actions we do contradict our own identity or our own set of values. This leads to us feeling emotionally exhausted and guilty of why we did, what we did. 

People feel this when someone else damages their self-confidence or when they are asked to do things which goes against their values and sometimes, simple words from them, which can lead to small disturbances in our own self-belief. 

So, what to do to counter these stresses?


First of all, we need to IDENTIFY them. Try identifying some stresses from this piece or finding them by ourselves. These stresses are embedded deeply in our everyday lives and we may simply glance over them. We may neglect the smallest inconveniences. But these inconveniences have a snowball effect in increasing our stress levels

Secondly, start DECOMPRESSING ourselves. This simply means that after identifying a stress trigger, we need to check ourselves when that trigger hits again. This can simply be taking a break or doing something else or talking to someone. This might help you in realizing even more stress triggers that we may not know of.

Lastly, we need to start DISTANCING ourselves from people who have usually are good for only putting in negative emotions in our heads. Distancing, disconnecting or detaching may not be easy for all of us, especially if it involves a friend or close colleague. And these people may not just be all toxic. It sometimes may happen that they would be encouraging unproductive behaviors (like, “Why you being a party pooper! You can do this tomorrow. This is more important now”), which may lead to micro stresses in the future. 

Micro-stresses should never be a part and parcel of our lives. We shouldn’t learn to live with them. Rather, these patterns should be observed and conscious efforts should be made in tackling them. This might require dissociation or a good support network or a changed mindset. But if we are better off doing those, what’s the harm in putting efforts there, right?