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

We all know that large life adjustments ― layoffs, well being occasions, a brand new child ― could cause lots of stress. Nevertheless, there are additionally tiny shifts in our lives (and even our days!) which might be usually neglected with regards to nervousness. Maybe you dread mendacity down in mattress for the evening, or perhaps the morning rush has you stressed.

These are known as “micro-transitions,” which consultants outline as smaller moments the place one thing is ending and one other occasion is beginning. These can embody 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 College of Texas Medical Department, who provides that generally even dreading these transitions might be triggering. “There’s anticipatory anxiety, which is anxiety about being anxious, as opposed to actual things to be anxious about.”

Whether or not you’ve been formally recognized with nervousness or simply really feel careworn in these moments, there are methods to establish which micro-transitions are hardest for you and methods for coping.

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


Darkish ideas like to point out their ugly faces at evening, Temple mentioned, so the solar taking place or related evening-related transitions can set off nervousness.

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

The Finish Of A Enjoyable Occasion

Maybe you’ve spent weeks getting ready to your upcoming trip with household, solely to obsess over your final day as the tip 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 nervousness that you simply wouldn’t have felt in any other case.

‘Audience’ Transitions

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

Both method, Dr. Whitney Casares, a personal observe pediatrician and founder and CEO of the Fashionable Mamas Membership, mentioned that an “audience change” generally is a micro-transition that causes nervousness. This could additionally present up as “putting on a good face” at a celebration once you aren’t up for it, or feeling like you possibly can’t be your true self round sure friends.

Conflicting Obligations

You probably have a Zoom name arising, and you understand your child might be waking from a nap on the similar time or {that a} restore particular person is about to reach, you would possibly really feel pulled in two instructions without delay. Or perhaps it’s a barely greater state of affairs: Say you’ve dedicated to a distant relative’s wedding ceremony and also you get an invite within the mail to your good friend’s wedding ceremony the identical weekend.

Dreading this lack of ability to steadiness obligations or obligations can result in some nervousness round these micro-transitions, Casares defined. Anticipating or worrying about points that will come up could cause your physique to enter fight-or-flight mode.

Justin Paget by way of Getty Photographs

In case your nervousness pops up at particular occasions throughout the day, spend a while analyzing why earlier than you tackle it.

How To Deal If You Have Anxiety In These Conditions

Step one to dealing with the sort of nervousness is figuring out the micro-transitions which might be triggering to you, which might be simpler mentioned than carried out, 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.” As soon as 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. If you do that, you’ll begin to discover a sure time of day, exercise or something in your surroundings that’s inflicting your nervousness.

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

You may attempt creating a chosen fear time to assist compartmentalize your ideas. This can be particularly helpful in the event you really feel nervousness 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.

Lastly, know you aren’t alone in your anxieties, Casares mentioned. For instance, in state of affairs of a Zoom name whereas your little one 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 could be experiencing the identical feelings, you give your emotions some permission and a few room to breathe.