If there’s one thing that every person in the modern world experiences, it’s stress. Sometimes it comes in small waves, testing us in little ways we can easily overcome. Other times, it comes at us like a raging torrent that leaves us gasping for air.
But what causes this stress? Could technology be a factor? Why does technology designed to make our lives easier only seem to make it more stressful?
And if technology is to blame, is it only going to get worse in the future?
According to the Australian Psychological Society’s 2014 survey of stress and wellbeing, Australians have reported levels of stress lower in 2013, but still higher than the previous two years. In addition, several years’ worth of findings show that young adults between 18 and 35 report significantly high levels of stress compared to other age brackets.
For many Australians, the same study shows that the leading reasons for stress stem from financial and family worries, which should come as little surprise.
However, while these can provide plenty of distress, we are constantly assaulted in our daily life with the bombardment of modern technology. It’s getting harder and harder to find someone without a smartphone, and the next generation will not remember a time when such technology wasn’t commonplace.
While modern communication has increased the ease of our life, it has also significantly increased the speed at which it moves. Exchanges that would take weeks by mail can now happen on the other side of the world in seconds or minutes. This can lead us to… do more.
Modern tech has gained such a presence in our lives that it’s easy to become addicted to social media and smartphone use to the point it starts impacting our relaxation and sleep. In turn, this causes even more stress to build up through the day, resulting in a cycle of stress accumulation.
Here’s a checklist to gauge if technology may be causing stress in your life:
- While you’re tech-savvy, do you feel you’re juggling too much?
- Is your sleep impacted due to having smartphones, tablets, laptops and/or smart TVs in the bedroom?
- Do you feel you spend ‘too much’ time on social media?
- Are you constantly on your phone, computer or tablet?
- Are you so busy that you skip lunch?
- Do you drive instead of walk because it ‘saves time’?
- Do you feel over-committed to the point that there’s no time for yourself to relax or recoup?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce the stress that comes with modern everyday life.
The important thing is to take a break from the quick pace of social media updates, mobile phone communications and simply just slow down a bit.
You can accomplish this in a number of easy ways sans technology:
- Dedicate some time for exercise, yoga or meditation
- Go for a walk during your lunch break
- Take a nap or lie down to relax
- Read a book or magazine
- Have a no smartphone/digital device zone at home
- Ban email or social media between specific hours
- Turn off your mobile phone.
Anything that allows you time to take your mind away from the stress of life and clear your head will work wonders in the long term.
Experiencing stressful events cannot always be avoided but we all have the power to change our lives at any moment, and understanding stress triggers is the beginning.
If you find that technology may be increasing your stress levels, you can speak to a psychologist.
Our adult counseling services will centre on developing ways to beat stress. We can provide tips on managing stress, and work with you to come up with a plan to re-introduce balance into your life.
Read about how to find a good counsellor in our Resources blog.