Townsville Bulletin

Snowball stress: the little things that push us over the edge


YOU thought your day couldn’t get anyworse but then you lose your keys, or the scales say you have stacked on some weight.

These are among the seemingly insignific­ant things that are highly likely to tip us over the edge, causing “snowball stress”, according to psychologi­sts.

A study has revealed the small things in life that have the power to change your entire day, for the worse.

Coming home to a messy house, seeing that someone has posted an unflatteri­ng picture of you on social media, and noticing your partner checking someone out in the street, also have the power to cause instant spikes in our stress levels, according to the survey.

But stepping in dog poo was the number one incident likely to tip us over the edge (49 per cent), followed by the car breaking down (36 per cent) and having a row with your partner before work (32 per cent).

The study of 2000 adults, by Poppy’s Picnic, found the ripple effect of these apparently small events can make the whole day feel like a write-off. This is known as “snowball stress”, according to psychologi­st Becky Spelman, who worked on the research.

Dr Spelman said: “The simple fact is that stress breeds stress, sometimes there is not just one major source of stress, but rather a million tiny ones.

“If you feel tense about something small, this will have both a psychologi­cal and a physiologi­cal impact on you. Think about building a snowman by rolling a snowball up a hill.

“You start out with a tiny ball of snow that fits in the palm of your hand, but by the time you reach the top of the hill, your ball has picked up enough snow to start building your snowman.

“We all have to deal with little setbacks in our everyday lives, but they don’t actually have to cause a ripple effect that destroys the whole day.

“Taking control over the things we can change, and practising techniques like mindfulnes­s, can help us to get back on the right track.”

The Sun

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