Snowball stress – When one thing leads to another

Many of us with Anxiety have specific anxiety triggers that start the cycle. Sitting in traffic, boss at work, walking the dog and talking to neighbors. If you have anxiety you know your triggers. One issue that turns bad moments into really bad moments is the snow ball stress. Snowball meaning a lot of little incidents add up to a larger snowball over time. There are so many possible triggers it’s hard to list them all here but here are a couple of examples:

  • Out of sugar for your coffee
  • You spilled a little bit of the coffee
  • Your Toe itches
  • You hit your knee on your desk
  • You got a robo call on your cell

Little things right? The list could go on and on but the point is the snowball starts somewhere. From any one of these examples you could begin the anxiety cycle. There really isn’t a whole lot you can do about it either. Triggers are random and your life is unlike anyone else’s. Maybe you have an electric socket at your place that shorts out often? Maybe from time to time your pet relieves itself on the floor?

The point is stress triggers anxiety and anxiety for many of us can lead to debilitating conditions where we rationalize not getting out of bed for days. I found a good article here about snowball stress. The survey was conducted in England, it isn’t offering any solutions, but it does identify some key triggers.

“On average, Brits have 60 bad days every year, and the effects of the bad day run deep, with 70 percent of people saying they are unable to hide it if they’re in the midst of a doomed day.

On the upside, 36 percent of Brits say that their partner is the one person who can make them snap out of a bad mood, 31 percent said their pet does the trick, and slightly more than the 29 percent say their kids help most.

And it appears that some human contact can make us feel better, with 44 percent saying that a cuddle is most likely to cheer them up, followed by someone making them laugh (40 percent), watching TV (33 percent) and playing with their pet (30 percent).”

Of course in my examples I didn’t cover anything about our “partners” if you are in a relationship it’s likely your stress snowball is triggered by the person you care a lot about. Why? This isn’t tricky but it’s something many of us are loathe to admit, we care a lot about what this other person thinks. Moreover, that person may not understand our anxiety triggers or (even worse) they understand completely and use it as a relationship tool. You can’t avoid things like leaving your lunch at home, or stepping in dog crap. Things like that happen randomly they will happen to you, you just have to get through it.

However your choice of partner is something you have control over. If someone in your life plays a starring role in your snowball stress talk to them and confront them. It’s critical that you communicate clearly what they are doing that affects you. Doing so is healthy, and always make them aware that it affects you because you care about them and you care about what they think. This will soften the conversation but a good understanding partner can be the difference between having a good day or having a stressful one.

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