1 in 4 adults in the UK in any given year will suffer from stress, anxiety, depression or another form of ill mental health (Mental Health Foundation Report 2015), and that’s only including those who are clinically diagnosed. How many others suffer in silence or ignore telltale signs?
Could this fast-paced, complex, ever challenging digital world we find ourselves living in be the root cause of our increased stress levels? A world where we’re always on call, permanently plugged in and bombarded with an endless stream of digital stimulus and distractions.
Like it or not, we’re all addicted to our digital devices. Relentlessly jumping from emails to whatsapps, google searches to social media, news apps to … you get the picture, because you probably do it too. Some of you up to 150 times a day.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains comments that constantly flitting from one forum or application to another is associated with “shallower thinking, weakened concentration, reduced creativity, and heightened stress.”
His views are supported by other experts who show similar concern for the elevated stress levels we face by constantly being on call.
So what can we do to limit this damage? To reduce the digital bombardment we’re exposing ourselves to?
Here’s our top 5 tips:
- Stop checking your Emails so Often!
Researchers have found a strong correlation between checking emails and adverse wellbeing. i.e the more we check them, the more stressed we feel, so so why not try only checking them at set times throughout the day? First thing in the morning, before lunch and then mid-afternoon perhaps?
This will stop the temptation to open every single email as it arrives and in return, reduce the stressful feelings associated with a rising inbox.
- Get some Perspective
Prioritise your emails. Switch off your auto response and gain some perspective. Remember not every email needs an immediate answer or response. Most don’t need a reply at all, it’s only out of sheer habit and so we don’t appear rude that we automatically respond.
- Take time away from Tech altogether
Go to the gym, take a walk in the park at lunch, practise yoga or a daily meditation, just make sure you have at least 30 minutes every day away from all digital devices.
- Use a website blocking app such as SelfControl
These allow you to block websites for a set period of time, simply by adding sites to your ‘blacklist’. Until the timer expires, you’ll be unable to access those sites – even if you restart your computer or delete the application. Genius!
- Sleep with your phone away from your bedside table
Charging your phone overnight away from your bed will not only stop you looking at it for that extra half an hour before you’d planned to sleep, but it will also stop you reaching for it first thing in the morning too!