You're always fine

The dominoes of micro-stress

March 19, 2024 Cabana Season 2 Episode 9
You're always fine
The dominoes of micro-stress
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us for a heartfelt dissection of the domino effect that unchecked annoyances can have, not just on our inner peace but also on our relationships. We're not just venting; we're on a mission to tackle these silent stress invaders by journaling them out and bucketing them into categories for better management strategies. Grab your journal, listen in, and let's embark on this journey of less stress and more laughs together.

Cabana Pods offers a therapeutic experience through immersive reality, focusing on emotional resilience. Research shows that immersive technologies tailored to one’s needs can immediately positively change well-being, mood, stress relief, and mindfulness.
Learn more about Cabana pods at https://www.yourcabana.com/pod

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, or LinkedIn. Click here to check out Cabana.

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to You're Always Fine a space to show up for yourself and embrace the mess that lives underneath. Because, let's be real, it's exhausting always being fine. So grab your headphones and allow yourself to listen, laugh and even cry, because you are not alone. And we aren't always fine, and that's okay.

Speaker 2:

Micro Stress, those subtle yet impactful daily hassles that sneak up on you without you even realizing. From minor annoyances to small frustrations, these insignificant stressors can add up over time and affect your well-being in various ways. This week, we're uncovering the hitting cost of micro stress. Welcome to, you're Always Fine, I'm your host.

Speaker 3:

Christine and I'm Teresa, so let's freaking get into it.

Speaker 2:

This should be good TT. So I asked you to go ahead and look up the definition of micro stress. Can you tell me what you found?

Speaker 3:

Sure so. This is from Harvard Business Review. Micro stressors are small moments of stress that seem manageable on their own. Think a vague, worrying text from your teen flashing on your phone while you're in a meeting, or the appearance of a colleague who always wants to vent to you, or having to tell your team that the project you've all been grinding out extra hours on is no longer a priority. But these micro stresses aren't as harmful as they seem. Because they're so small and brief, they don't trigger the normal stress response in our brains to help us cope. Instead, micro stress embeds itself in our minds and accrues over time. The long-term impact of this buildup is debilitating. It zaps our energy, damages our physical and emotional health and contributes to a decline in our overall well-being.

Speaker 2:

Well, that hit Right. So when you were talking and saying that, I have no teens, but I could totally see that For me like a cluttered desk or things not being organized in my fridge anytime I get into the car in general. Oh, and a huge, huge micro stress for me is my cell phone notifications.

Speaker 3:

Oh, like if they're up, like if you have 225 emails like my husband.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's cute. I have 52,000 on my rare email. Oh stop. So shout out to Apple for the focus feature that takes those red things off. But that is like 100% sends like a shockwave through my body and when I say them out loud it kind of seems silly. But I think that's exactly what the research above was kind of saying. Oh yeah, I think that it seems silly in the moment, but there's like a lot of high impacts on overall health.

Speaker 3:

Well, yeah, because they build up and they stack on top of each other without you even realizing it. And then, when you do realize it, it's usually when you freak the fuck out, like when you just like lose your shit. At least for me, that's really funny.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like I won't notice that something's bothering me. Like Mike and I had it out with each other a couple of weeks ago and before our argument I literally had said to him like yo, look at me and you, we're doing so good, like we haven't argued in the longest time. And then there was like a couple of things that was going on with stuff at school with Michael Jr, and they individually were not that big of a deal, but they all happened in January, within a couple like a week or so of each other. And so, mike, I started to get stressed out. I started to email the teachers, the principals, whatever, and then Mike was getting on me as if I was like being too much. So we wound up getting a huge argument and I wound up just like exploding and he was like I didn't know that you were this upset and I was like I didn't either, just like came out.

Speaker 2:

Well, and I mean that's why we, when we were like discussing like titles for this, it's like I thought of like dominoes, because I thought like ripples were just like I don't know, but like you know, like the domino effect, where it's just like you start at one thing and next thing you know like the whole thing is to the ground.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, and there's, there's, you know commonalities and common buckets of micro stress. Where the sources are from, you can get it from relationships, environment, daily routines, and when something in that little bucket is out of whack or you fill it too much, it's going to spill.

Speaker 2:

And it's funny, like as my brain is kind of doing, like the quick self analysis, as I mean I think everybody should, but as a therapist I feel like there's just me going like getting information and then like my therapist's brain being like well, now let's evaluate that. Like we're this into your life? Yeah, but as it's like happening, I know for me like my environment and my OCD ticks are so intertwined and it's amazing to me how physical space can affect my entire day or can affect.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, like if you wake up and you're getting ready to start work and your desk is a freaking mess.

Speaker 2:

Exactly so. This morning, for example, the podcast station felt off, or was you know?

Speaker 2:

there was things on top of the desk and I came downstairs and, rather than just jumping into my journaling or whatever, this it was just I couldn't unsee it. I hyperfix it, I became obsessive, which then led to compulsions of you know me fixing it and once it was over, I didn't feel that stress anymore. Right, I was ready to go for this but it had, you know, a domino effect and, like environment, specifically like this is going to sound silly, but my drawers, if I open my drawer, and it's You're what I know, the drawer, I can't say that word Drawer, drawer, you know you sound like Harry now the drawer.

Speaker 2:

You sound like Harry, you know what I'm going to say Congratulations, you sound like my wife now.

Speaker 3:

How have I known you as long as I have and not ever knew that you said drawer as drawer?

Speaker 2:

Because I try never to say the word ever.

Speaker 3:

All right, tell me about your drawer. Okay, I need to know.

Speaker 2:

So, mind you, everywhere in my house, in my perfect world, would look like this, but it's got the perfect organizers and all of it is. Think of a good ASMR like restock video.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's all these two things on my nightstand. They're what. Oh my God, and I'm going to post a photo on social so everyone can see what I'm talking about.

Speaker 3:

But when I guarantee you it's nicely organized.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's insane and, like I said in, every single thing is like filled to the brim and I have like a thing to restock it and the amount of like peace that brings me is.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I bet.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and so when we're sitting here talking about, like micro stress, I'm just like, wow, like I get that. I get that so so deeply in the environment, oh yeah. And then also it's environments like energy, right, so if you walk into a place and the energy is not good or you know, you can tell there's just like people are tense and everything and God has such an impact, like little bit has nothing to do with me, can quite literally cause my rare disease to flare. It's nuts.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's crazy. I mean even something like we all know that you and I are so different and I, like you would die if you saw my cabinets, my draws. Like you would die because none of that is organized at all. And it's not that I like it that way, it's just being a mom and working and doing all the things I do, you kind of have to prioritize what you're going to allow to annoy you or stress you out, and so those things I just I'm like, okay, I can't be annoyed by them, but the dishes and it's my own fault Like I'll leave them in there. And I'm like I'm going to be stressed out if I wake up and see them in the morning but I don't feel like doing them right now. Or if I wake up late and now I am rushing to get the kids to school and so then everything's like off, and then if I have to skip the gym, it just adds on and all of a sudden I'm like, okay, this day is ruined.

Speaker 2:

Done Well right.

Speaker 3:

So hard.

Speaker 2:

And again, because of the fact that it's not out or at least still causing stress, or it's not exactly the same as a stress cycle, right, because these micro-sresses aren't initiating that same fight or fight cycle, so you don't have a stressful day or something's stressful in your life, but it initiates a system within your body. These micro-sresses aren't doing that. However, your body remembers, your body absorbs it, and cell memory is a thing, and so when I was doing the research for this episode and I saw the environment, I felt so validated in being like wow, it's not just. You know, christina has OCD, which she does, but there's just no, in fact, that whatever those triggers are for you, and they don't have to be the same for two people, right, you and me are great examples of that.

Speaker 2:

We can walk into the same space and I could completely go into fight or fight mode or whatever, and you would not be faced. I just I did not realize. I was shocked when I saw the bucket of environment in the research but I was like, oh no, I gotta take the environment one when we go over the points, because I'm like this is me to a T.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, 100% yeah, and even things like a daily routine, even for the kids. Okay, they're getting to the age where I'm like I should not have to hover over you for you to get your stuff done. And in the morning they have certain things that they need to get done before school, and today they're watching TV I'm assuming all their stuff is done and then we're in the car and I'm going over it and I'm like wait, I didn't see them do this, I didn't see them do that. And so I'm asking them did you do this, did you do that? And they're like no, and I'm instantly annoyed because is it a big deal, the things that they missed?

Speaker 3:

No, but the reason why I wanted to get them done was because I had a plan for them after school that they don't know about. So I'm like, oh, now that is getting pushed back. So it is true, you try and set a daily routine for yourself in order to make your day go smoothly, but then, when things don't get finished the way they should, even though it's not a huge deal, it gives you a wrinkle Like I would call it a little wrinkle in your day. That kind of just gives you a little bump that you got to step over, if that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and when you were just talking about that, the first thing in my head was I think kids are just macro, micro, every bit of stress. They're great, but right Like they're a beast, they're yes.

Speaker 3:

I work but you know, I love them dearly, but oh my.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, because a lot of times micro stresses are created because an expectation wasn't met. Yes and right, and thinking about it, like in all these different sets like work right, or even you and me, we have gotten into it how many times because there was an expectation set and one of us didn't meet it and no, it wasn't the end of the world, no, we were able to bounce back. The outcome of it was completely fine, but it had an impact, an overall impact, on Exactly Our days. Are the person who took on the micro stress right? Cause that's the thing about it is that if it wasn't something that triggered your micro stress or didn't hit that way, you just kind of go about your day and wait for your micro stresses to hit you, I guess. So I just think that's interesting.

Speaker 2:

And also, when you talked about the teen texting, I thought about in general just how my phone can do that insta-stress like insta-stress or a micro stress where it's like I see something and I'm just like annoyed and I've texted you before. I've been like did you see this on social media? Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Like so like. To me, that's a perfect example of a micro stress that was only in a brief moment in time in which something was annoying, but it still was just annoying like lost time and energy to that.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, 100%. Even though they're small things, they add up. I mean they really do. Just think about it in a visually conceptual way. You have a bucket, you have water, the water is your micro stress, right? You pour a little bit in the bucket, not a big deal. Little bit in the bucket, little bit in the bucket, little bit in the bucket. Eventually you're gonna overflow.

Speaker 2:

No, eventually you take the bucket and you throw it on someone.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you just chalk it on someone and whoever annoys the shit out of you.

Speaker 2:

No, you don't even know. It never ends on the right someone but-.

Speaker 3:

It never ends on the right someone. That is so true. You're always exploding and looking like a psycho on the wrong person. And um, and then you have a relationship to fix and it's a mess.

Speaker 2:

Right, and that's exactly where I wanted, because the relationship bucket is actually exploding my mind right now, because when you think about relationships as a whole family, friends, you know, partners and coworkers they are so complex and they each require this individualized thing to keep that healthy and maintain it right.

Speaker 3:

Right.

Speaker 2:

Or just to survive them because you have to and depending on the situation. Those are micro-stresses per relationship that all go into the bucket of micro-stress that is relationship.

Speaker 3:

We're fucked. Okay, so we established that we're royally fucked, but there's got to be something we can do about it. So what do we do about it? You're the therapist. I've got no clue in that department. So what the hell do we do?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's funny because I was thinking about, like, what is going to be the actionable tool I have for this thing that I feel like I'm just self-discovering here, but I came up with the idea that you know these micro-stresses. To me, the biggest thing they do is they deplete the reserves you have emotionally and mentally and physically, definitely.

Speaker 2:

And so I think, to tackle these, you have to identify them, you have to know what you're up against. And so go ahead, grab your journal and you're going to create either like if you're a bullet journal or a micro-stress page, or if you are just a regular journal, or if you just need to grab a piece of paper whatever is your sense of journaling and take a few minutes each day for about a week and jot down any minor stresses you encounter and reflect on how they made you feel and then the ripple impact of it.

Speaker 2:

The primary, the tertiary and then the last thing I want you to do is record the rippling impact, like where that led to, like the dominoes that fell, and then what over of the three buckets that falls in. And why that part is so important is because it is so much easier to think of three tools to use than it is to be trying to deploy coping skills for every single individualized micro-stress. You would quite literally probably spend your lifetime doing that, and so by kind of the last step putting into a bucket, you can then say, okay, most of my micro-stresses are in my relationships. Let's target this first. I'm going to prioritize getting some two to three coping skills for this bucket. So that's where I think we should start.

Speaker 3:

I think that's good, because if you can't identify which bucket your micro-stress and stress is stemming from, like for me, I might have micro-stresses in terms of parenting and with my kids and if they're listening or whatever, but if I'm not able to identify that I might be picking a fight with my husband for no reason just because he looked at me the wrong way. Well, right, and then you might have this whole thing.

Speaker 2:

If you deploy a coping skill to fix how I bite Mike's head off, you're not fixing the root of the problem. So you're going to be targeting and that's going to be great. I'm sure something positive will come out of it, but you're going to see the after effects continue to happen because you're not getting to the root cause of what is the micro-stress. So yes, exactly.

Speaker 3:

Mike, if you're listening, we're trying to employ the coping skills.

Speaker 2:

Okay, we're working on it.

Speaker 3:

It's a work in progress.

Speaker 2:

Oh, progress over perfection, that's it. That is it for this week's episode of You're Always Fine. Remember to tune in Thursday for our weekly snack size therapy sesh. Until then, mind your help.

Speaker 4:

Seriously, you're fine. You're fine because you have the power to access your place of peace anytime you need it. However, if you get stuck or right at the palm of your hand to help check out our show notes for this week's source list, recommended content and cabana live group schedule, we'll catch you next week for a brand new episode of You're Always Fine.

Unpacking Micro Stress Impacts
Managing Micro-Stress in Relationships