Why We Choose Stress
How could we possibly choose smartphone stress on purpose? There’s something satisfying about responding to that alert that comes in, on text, on Facebook, on email. It’s an addictive practice. We hear the sound, or we see something move or blink from our phones. In classic Pavlovian response, we stop whatever else we were doing. The compulsion to respond immediately is just too strong.
Smartphones enhance our lives in many ways, and yet as we’ve all experienced, this type of communication can become counterproductive.
Our phones were originally billed as something useful, meant to organize our lives, connect with more people, and get more done in less time, ironically pulling us away from the present moment – as a rule. With every single aspect of our lives now being directed from smartphones, this condition of being unable to live in the present moment has become chronic.
Smartphone stress actually causes us to become stressed in a way that we don’t even recognize is happening. So as we go through our day at the mercy of whatever our technology is prompting us to do next, we feel our stress levels increasing in intensity.
But because we like technology, because it connects us with our people, and because it gives us a sense of accomplishing more, we ignore the physical signs of mounting stress.
We don’t stop to consider the smartphone stress source of that mildly agitated feeling that’s ever-growing as the day goes on. We seldom acknowledge the underlying impatience or the feeling of being distracted and unable to concentrate because we are drug-addicted to looking and waiting for that smartphone alert and then responding.
All of this is stressful. But we just don’t really think about it. So if you are feeling stressed and can’t pinpoint why recognize the true source of where your anxious feelings originate from.
Look down at your hand and where your eyes rest at the current moment and it is very likely your phone or possibly your computer. So if we are to manage the daily sources of stress in our lives, then that starts with managing the technology.
Tips for Managing Tech Stress
- Communicate carefully. Don’t assume anything when you send texts or respond to emails. Include all info upfront. And it’s best practice to state the bottom line up front, also known as BLUF. There will be far less confusing back-and-forth if you take the time to summarize, then do a “what’s next” for every email you send.
- Designate specific times of day for social media check-ins. Let people know that if they need to get in touch immediately, they can text you instead.
- Take tech breaks. Get away from the computer or put down your phone. Walk, stretch and move. Rest your eyes.
- Don’t text and drive. This goes without saying, but people still do it all the time. You can set up an “I’m driving.” autoresponse to ease the pressure of responding right away.