Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Coping with the Small, Daily Stresses

stressThere are two types of people in this world: 1) People who get stuck in traffic and simply go along their merry way, and 2) Those who can’t go on without cursing or mustering a big, miserable sigh.

And this second type of people — those who freak out, blow up, or fly off the proverbial handle in a loud huff — need to watch their health. A recent study shows that the little stresses in life can add up and become a big health threat.

The Stress Research

The researchers observed 1,293 men for years. They also examined their daily contributors to stress like being annoyed at work; they also examined the more traumatic ones, such as the loss of a child. They found out that both contribute to premature death.

Carolyn Aldwin, the head researcher, said that the type of stress, whether it’s traumatic or not, doesn’t matter. If the person’s stress level is chronically high, it could influence their health and even their mortality. It simply all comes down to how the person handles stress.

The Keep Calm Biology

To further understand why some people are more quick-tempered than others, think of the brain as a seesaw. One side of the brain contains the amydala, which generates emotions. The other side contains the frontal lobes, which are associated with logic and reasoning.

In every person, one side is more influential than the other. The brain of the hotheaded types seesaw more often toward the emotional side.

The Balance or Bust Method

If you’re the type of person who has difficulty handling stress, don’t worry. There are certain ways to manage stress, such as doing breathing exercises or taking herbal medicine like Mucuna pruriens. Research shows that people can also train themselves to not “sweat the small stuff”. To do this, you need to use mental strategies that will exercise the part of the brain responsible for reasoning.

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Pay close attention to how you respond to your little “stressors”. For instance, if you’re stuck in horrible traffic and late for work, do something that can help you stay calm. Deep breathing exercises, for instance, can help. This can also build your resilience for the coming stressors down the road.

Here’s a quote by Siddharta Gautama: “Little by little a person becomes good, as a water pot is filled by drops of water.” Pay close attention to the little stressors, practice handling them — and you’ll be calmer, healthier by every drop.