Deal With Stress

Is Tech Stress Driving You Screaming Mad?

Is technology adding to your stress?It’s official (in case you hadn’t already noticed): technology is raising our stress level precipitously.

In fact, Mike Kushner, co-owner of a computer solutions company in Palo Alto, California, has paramedics ready to respond to calls from what he calls the “digitally desperate.”

Some of that desperation is created because the hardware malfunctions.

Since stress tends to make us stupid, we react as if we’re helpless, lost in a futuristic world of technology where we don’t even speak the language. Recently, I was without a printer for three weeks. At first, I panicked, then realized I could put everything I needed on a flash drive, go to the nearest Office Max, and get it printed out. Encountering another desperate business owner a few weeks later who was in the same panicked state, I suggested my solution. It hadn’t occurred to him, but he welcomed it.

Then there are the unintended consequences of using the technology that we once welcomed as a way to make our lives easier:

We’re driven by the “always on” syndrome: computers don’t have to rest, and they can multi-task endlessly without taking notes or developing “brain buzz.” We do need to rest.

Connected to more people digitally, we’re actually losing human connections. A Stanford University study found that the amount of time people spend on the internet comes out of time they would have spent with family and friends.

Computers and smartphones can keep working tirelessly, and never feel pain. We can’t, and we try to do so at our peril.

How do we keep our lives from being taken over by machines?  Here are some suggestions:

Never, never, ever, boot up a computer without having a list (yes, a handwritten list) of what is important for you to do now right in front of your eyes. Then stick to it, no matter how enticing the ads or the email titles are. Set aside two times per day when you open your e-mail. Stick to this schedule, no matter what. How can you decrease the “e-mail overwhelm”? By reducing the amount of e-mail you send. People feel compelled to respond when you email them; do them a favor and reduce their load. It will be reflected, sometimes significantly, in the amount of e-mail you receive.

John Freeman, in The Tyranny of E-Mail, lists some questions you should ask yourself before sending e-mail, including:

Is this message essential? Does it need to arrive there instantly? Why am I sending it? What expectations or precedents will it set?

Why not send a postcard to a friend while on vacation? It lasts longer, and is more memorable.

Thinking about a friend and wanting to connect? How about picking up a phone? Even if all you can do is leave a voice mail message, that is warmer than print on a screen.

So… pick up the phone, scrawl a hand-written note, walk down the hall, reconnect with the human race, and calm your mind and body.

Lynette Crane, M.A.(Psychology) and Certified Life Coach, is a Minneapolis-based speaker, writer, and coach. She has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of stress management. She currently works to provide stress and time pressure solutions to harried women, those women who seek “Islands of Peace” in their overly-busy lives. Her talks to groups of what she calls “harried women” are receiving rave reviews. Visit her website at to see more in-depth articles and to view her programs.

Article Source: Is Tech Stress Driving You Screaming Mad?

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