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Negative Impact Of Email On Your Body Is Beyond Expectation, Research Finds

Negative Impact Of Email On Your Body Is Beyond Expectation, Research Finds

Let’s make a bet, shall we? I bet you’re reading this on your smartphone right now. Was I right? Okay, send the money to: Matt Duczemi—just kidding.

My point is that, in today’s busy world full of technological advances, it’s almost a guarantee that even if you’re sitting completely alone in your apartment, you’re no more than a couple steps away from being able to contact almost anyone in the entire world. While this is definitely an amazing accomplishment for mankind, there are certainly many drawbacks to it as well.

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How many of you immediately grab your phone whenever it starts beeping or buzzing, even if you know it’s going to be a meaningless email from that website you signed up for last week? I’m guilty of it as well. But what we’re not realizing is that even taking a quick ten-second glance at our phones completely disrupts us from whatever we were engaged in before the Pavlovian response kicked in. Even worse, the content of the email or message we received has the potential to completely take us away from our previous activity, especially if the email is work-related.

Research and Study

A recent study conducted by the University of Hamburg discovered that having 24/7 access to communication devices results in elevated stress levels across the board. This is due mostly to the fact that our bosses just assume that we should be available at all times, regardless of whether or not we’re on the clock. Not only do our employers expect it, but we also succumb to it as well.

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The study involved 132 workers from 13 different places of business, who were given a stress-related survey every day for 8 days. Of these days, the participants were expected to work and be available on 4 of them. The other 4 they had to themselves. Some of the participants also gave saliva samples in order to measure their cortisol levels, the hormone which regulates stress in the body.

As you can imagine, those who were expected to be available reported higher stress levels, and their saliva samples showed the same. However, even though those who were not expected to work reported feeling less stressed out, their cortisol levels also increased as well. Despite knowing full well that they were completely free to do whatever they pleased, they still may have been affected by the possibility of an emergency call or message coming through on their smartphones.

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What gives?

It seems that our idea of “relaxation” has completely changed. As a freelance writer, I can certainly attest to this: When I went on vacation this summer with my wife, there were still a couple of times I felt compelled to respond to clients immediately when they emailed me, even if it was just to say “I’m away for the week and will get back to you soon.” Rather than completely ignore them, I felt it was in my best interest to give them an update so they didn’t end up passing me over and moving on to someone else. Regardless of my reasoning, for at least a couple of minutes during my one week of vacation, my mind was back on the grind rather than on the ocean waves.

We keep our smartphones within reach at all times. We immediately read and respond to emails, regardless of their true importance. We do all this, as I alluded to in my personal anecdote, in order to keep from falling behind. But we seem to be forgetting that, by putting our career and professional life ahead of our personal life, we end up falling behind in one way or another anyway.

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What do you think? Is it worth sacrificing a couple of minutes to reply to a work-related email? Or are we sacrificing too much by anticipating the next buzz from our phones?

Featured photo credit: Two Dreamers and a Smartphone Addict / Jake Stimpson via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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