4 ‘Micro-Transitions’ In Your Day That May Be Causing You Anxiety

We know that large life adjustments ― layoffs, well being occasions, a brand new child ― may cause a whole lot of stress. However, there are additionally tiny shifts in our lives (and even our days!) which can be usually missed in terms of anxiousness. Maybe you dread mendacity down in mattress for the evening, or perhaps the morning rush has you stressed.

These are referred to as “micro-transitions,” which consultants outline as smaller moments the place one thing is ending and one other occasion is beginning. These can embrace little factors in your day, just like the aforementioned bedtime, or barely greater occasions, like a trip ending.

“Whether it’s called triggers or micro-triggers, we all certainly have things that set us off,” mentioned Jeff Temple, a psychologist on the University of Texas Medical Branch, who provides that generally even dreading these transitions could be triggering. “There’s anticipatory anxiety, which is anxiety about being anxious, as opposed to actual things to be anxious about.”

Whether you’ve been formally recognized with anxiousness or simply really feel pressured in these moments, there are methods to establish which micro-transitions are hardest for you and methods for coping.

Here are some micro-transitions to be careful for and what to do to counteract them:


Dark ideas like to point out their ugly faces at evening, Temple mentioned, so the solar happening or related evening-related transitions can set off anxiousness.

There are a number of theories on why this occurs. One study discovered that sleep disruption could be attributable to an lack of ability to manage emotionally detrimental data at evening. Some psychologists blame our caveman-esque brains, which used to scan for hazard earlier than mattress in hunter-gatherer instances. Additionally, our brains’ energetic “negativity bias” ― the place our minds subconsciously deal with dangerous information over excellent news ― could be at play. At evening, we will reminisce on numerous detrimental occasions that occurred throughout the day.

The End Of A Fun Event

Maybe you’ve spent weeks making ready on your upcoming trip with household, solely to obsess over your final day as the top of your journey is approaching.

Temple mentioned this may be attributable to having a good time and never wanting it to finish, or conversely, having excessive expectations and feeling like no matter occurred wasn’t as enjoyable as you needed it to be.

“So therefore, there’s a sense of dread or let down,” he mentioned. These feelings can materialize as anxiousness that you simply wouldn’t have felt in any other case.

‘Audience’ Transitions

Do you modify how you might be parenting when your companion leaves the room and your mother-in-law walks in? Maybe you might be stricter, or extra laid-back.

Either method, Dr. Whitney Casares, a non-public follow pediatrician and founder and CEO of the Modern Mamas Club, mentioned that an “audience change” could be a micro-transition that causes anxiousness. This also can present up as “putting on a good face” at a celebration while you aren’t up for it, or feeling like you possibly can’t be your true self round sure friends.

Conflicting Obligations

If you have got a Zoom name arising, and your child will probably be waking from a nap on the identical time or {that a} restore particular person is about to reach, you may really feel pulled in two instructions directly. Or perhaps it’s a barely greater situation: Say you’ve dedicated to a distant relative’s marriage ceremony and also you get an invite within the mail on your buddy’s marriage ceremony the identical weekend.

Dreading this lack of ability to stability obligations or tasks can result in some anxiousness round these micro-transitions, Casares defined. Anticipating or worrying about points which will come up may cause your physique to enter fight-or-flight mode.

Justin Paget by way of Getty Images

If your anxiousness pops up at particular instances throughout the day, spend a while analyzing why earlier than you deal with it.

How To Deal If You Have Anxiety In These Situations

The first step to dealing with the sort of anxiousness is figuring out the micro-transitions which can be triggering to you, which could be simpler mentioned than completed, Temple defined.

“Some of the hardest parts are recognizing your negative thoughts, or your anxious thoughts … it’s really difficult. It’s about being ― I really hate this word ― mindful and reflective, and paying attention to your body and your thoughts,” he mentioned, suggesting folks write it down after they understand an “automatic thought” popping up.

These are ideas that we don’t even discover we’re having, like “tonight’s going to suck,” or “I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight because I have to do this tomorrow.” Once we will acknowledge which ideas are automated, we will problem them, Temple mentioned.

“That’s when you need to back up, and sit down and think about what just happened and what was going on, so then you can figure out what you were thinking,” he mentioned. When you do that, you’ll begin to discover a sure time of day, exercise or something in your setting that’s inflicting your anxiousness.

Once your micro-transition triggers, you possibly can work to stop them. Then you possibly can strategy these transitions in a relaxed state,Temple mentioned. So if, say, the night is an anxiety-inducing time period, training sitting down and deep respiration as that point begins may help.

You also can strive creating a chosen fear time to assist compartmentalize your ideas. This could also be particularly helpful when you really feel anxiousness earlier than sleep.

“Spend 10 minutes sometime in the mid-morning, not right before you go to bed, and write down every single thing that you are worried or anxious about. Stay seated for 10 minutes,” Temple mentioned.

Later within the day, if one thing feels worrisome, validate the thought however transfer it to that fear time. “We’re not saying don’t have that thought, because that’s impossible … we’re saying you’re allowed to think that, you’re allowed to be anxious about that, just not right now. So let’s make a note and we’ll worry about that tomorrow during worry time,” Temple mentioned.

Finally, know you aren’t alone in your anxieties, Casares mentioned. For instance, in situation of a Zoom name whereas your youngster is napping, “you could fill a colosseum full of parents who might feel this exact same way,” she mentioned. By realizing anybody in your scenario may be experiencing the identical feelings, you give your emotions some permission and a few room to breathe.

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