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Which Stressors are More Damaging to Your Health?


Do you ever wonder which stressors are more detrimental to your health – losing a job or dealing with a messy house, having a major argument with a friend or dealing with an unreliable one? Surprisingly, it’s often the seemingly minor stressors that can take a significant toll on your well-being.

James Ehrlich, MD, a clinical associate professor of endocrinology at the University of Colorado, Denver, explains that for some people, everyday stressors may be more harmful in the long run than major life events like a family loss or a car accident. This is because the sole purpose of stress hormones is to help us through life-threatening situations. However, many people today experience chronic stress, leading to a constant release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can directly contribute to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and cancer, and indirectly lead to unhealthy habits like lack of sleep and overeating.

Rather than dismissing these “minor” stressors, it’s essential to address and manage them to attain a sense of calm. Here are ten common stressors to eliminate from your life:

1. People Who Say Yes When They Mean No: Some individuals agree to your requests but often show up late or cancel at the last minute, creating unpredictable relationships. Research shows that such ambiguous relationships can be more stressful than dealing with people you actively dislike. To reduce this stress, offer these individuals a choice and make it clear that saying “no” is an option.

2. Rude Encounters in Sales: Interactions with salespeople who appear rude can feel like personal attacks. Be assertive and kind when addressing such encounters, asking the salesperson if you’ve done something to upset them. This approach can lead to a more understanding and less stressful interaction.

3. Messy House Woes: Sometimes, others may not see the mess in the same way you do, which can lead to a stressful situation. Hold a family meeting to express your concerns and designate a short daily “pickup time” to encourage everyone to maintain public spaces.

4. Automated Customer Assistance: Dealing with touch-tone or voice-activated customer service centers can be frustrating. To quickly reach a human representative, visit or try pressing 0 or other combinations after calling the main number.

5. The Search for Quiet: It can be challenging to find quiet time to destress. Utilize short moments of solitude, like taking a shower, to recharge your batteries and regain focus.

6. Marital Irritations: Opposites may attract initially, but over time, personality issues can become a significant source of marital stress. Try to view your partner’s quirks more kindly and help them channel their energy positively.

7. Overpacked Schedules: Overfilled days can make small hiccups feel like major disasters. Consider cutting out or reducing certain activities to create more downtime.

8. Self-Neglect: Neglecting your own appearance can lead to negative self-perception and affect how the world responds to you. Invest in self-care, like a good haircut and a quick makeup routine, to project a positive aura.

9. Lack of Communication: Feeling unheard or disconnected from loved ones is a significant stressor. Set aside time for focused conversations and make sure your loved ones reciprocate when you need their attention.

10. Extreme Caloric Restriction: Extreme dieting can lead to irritability, headaches, and fatigue. Instead of counting calories, focus on making healthy food choices to maintain your well-being.

By addressing these stressors, you can improve your overall health and well-being.”