Have you ever had a day where it feels that everything is going wrong, one thing after another?
Many people have, and that chain of annoyance, inconvenience and stress is often brought about by one initial problem that seems to simply tarnish the rest of the day.
Psychologists have started referring to this as ‘snowball stress’.
When one thing goes wrong early in the day, it can cause us to dwell on it – increasing our stress levels.
We become more sensitive to other setbacks, leading to more frustration and stress.
Instead of being able to brush them off, we believe that the day is a write off and that there’s no point even trying.
Although it can be easy to get caught up in this mindset, we don’t have to accept that a bad day is ‘fate’.
Much of the stress we feel is brought upon by our own thoughts, namely how we choose to perceive events.
We base these thoughts on our own experiences and the experiences of others.
If we get into the habit of thinking today is a ‘bad day’, then that is exactly what it will become.
We have to remain self-aware and be able to think objectively about the events that cause us stress.
For example, if you were to miss the bus and be late for work, it would understandably be stressful and a bad start to the day.
However, it is then important to let that event go. It is something that has been and gone, so cannot be changed.
We should then instead focus on what canbe changed – for example making up the time lost at work, and ensuring that it doesn’t happen again the next day.
It can be beneficial to ask yourself the following questions to gain perspective:
- What am I reacting to? Why is it having this effect on me?
- What would the situation look like to someone else?
- What would I say if I was advising someone else?
From here, you can gain a balanced argument against negative thoughts, and stop that snowball stress!
To learn more about how to manage everyday stress, we’d recommend our Coping with Stress eLearning course.