Feeling stressed out? That’s not surprising.

Approximately 77% of people surveyed feel stressed out during the week. But, what’s leading to all that stress?

Job pressure, money issues, health and nutrition problems, poor relationships, sleep deprivation, and media overload should certainly come to mind.

Today, we are going to talk about five reasons why technology is stressing you out and how to make it stop.

1.   Constant Distractions

Would you believe that you check your phone up to 300 times in one day? It seems crazy, but a new research study just revealed how distracted we truly are. With over 480 million Internet users using social media on a daily basis this is a hard fact to avoid.

While you may not consider how many times you check your digital devices per day, maybe you should. If you only spent 30 seconds each time you check your phone, you would have spent 150 minutes on your cell phone (or 2.5 hours). Could you have been more productive with those 2.5 hours of free time? The answer is obvious.

So, what can you do to overcome constant distractions and the urge to check your phone repeatedly?

To start, make it difficult to get to your phone. If it is in your pocket, it’s easily accessible. Instead, move it across the room, or leave it in another room. If you are at work, leave it in your locker or vehicle. Turn off notifications so you aren’t tempted to check it when it beeps and/or buzzes.

Just following these suggestions should cut your distractions down dramatically and help you to reclaim lost time.

2.   Messed Up Sleep Cycles

Only 1 in 7 Americans feel refreshed when they wake up, and our technology dependence could be the reason (or at least one of the reasons).

In a study performed by the University of Pittsburgh, digital users were more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. And another study by the University of Pittsburgh also found that digital users were more likely to medicate to fall asleep and/or experience depression.

So, what can be done to combat sleep deprivation?

Well, for starters, you need to stop using your phone before you go to bed. Dr. Samuels advises that you cut off digital usage at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Doing so will help you to disconnect from your social life, which stimulates your mind. Also, blue light actually affects our melatonin levels, making it harder to fall asleep. And all digital devices emit a certain amount of blue light, so turn off the screens before you hit the hay.

Don’t leave your devices on. Too many of us rely on our smartphones for everything, including our alarm clocks. Instead, buy a dedicated alarm clock and put your phone on Emergency Mode only. Make sure that you won’t receive any alerts, emails, notifications … anything.

3.   We Bring Work into Our Home

In the past, when we clocked out for the day, that was it. Work did not come home with us, unless we packed it up and brought it home. We didn’t have to worry about emails coming in after hours or getting asked to fix a report at midnight.

But we’ve become so connected that now the line between our work life and home life has become blurred, if not fully blended. In fact, 57% of workers have said that technology has negatively affected family dinners.

So, what can we do to take back our home life? Here a few quick suggestions:

·      Manage your time better.

·      Learn to prioritize.

·      Say NO sometimes.

·      Don’t socialize so much at work.

·      Don’t connect to your work from home.

Each of these require you to take inventory of what is capturing your time. For most, they’ll find out that they spend too much time browsing the internet and/or checking their social media feeds.

For others, they may find out that they are socializing too much around the water cooler. In some cases, you’ll find out that you take on too many projects because you can’t say NO. Whatever the reason, you can take back your home life if you learn to stop bringing work home.

4.   The Fear of Missing Out

The Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a type of anxiety where someone feels that they will miss out on “something important” if they aren’t connected. Therefore, they use all the newest apps, connect with as many people as they can, and they check their phones and tablets constantly.

About 41% of users feel that they do waste too much time on their social media accounts. But they still continue using their social accounts because they “might” miss out on something important. And if you are being honest, you’ve experienced FOMO too.

But there are some great benefits to disconnecting.

·      More time for real life connections.

·      More usable time in the day.

·      Reduced feelings of inadequacy or jealousy.

·      Less reason to “keep up with the Joneses”.

In order to disconnect, it is best to start out small. Most people want to stop everything “cold turkey”, but if you want to succeed, you need to take it one step at a time.

If you have five social media accounts, then start with the one that you don’t really check all that often. You don’t have to delete the app, but it will help. Once you’ve managed to pull away from that app, move on to the next, and the next, and then the next … (this is the snowball method and it works).

In the beginning, you’ll find yourself automatically going to the app. Social media use is similar to a cigarette addiction. In order to overcome the addiction, you have to take it in steps. Use a support friend that isn’t online. You can overcome your FOMO if you want to. It just takes a little time and patience.

5.   Constant Comparisons

And finally, social media users tend to compare themselves to their friends more often than those who aren’t “connected”. A study by the University of Michigan found that digital users were more likely to become depressed and/or feel a need to compare their lives to others.

But the truth is, our self-worth shouldn’t be connected to what we see others doing (i.e. social media vacations, buying the newest technology). In fact, certain social media platforms have even admitted to controlling what you see, which can affect how you feel and/or compare to others.

In order to combat the need to compare yourself to everyone else, find out what you are seeking. For most, it’s a sense of friendship (through likes and shares) or acceptance. For others, it’s the idea that you are keeping up with the Joneses. Once you know what it is that you are seeking, find it away from your digital friends. Instead, link up with some buddies for a night out, or a fishing trip. The in-person connection will help you in ways that no “online friend” can.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, technology isn’t going anywhere. Our dependence on technology is only gaining traction. And, if we aren’t careful, we can let technology stress us out. From too many distractions, to sleep deprivation, to working way after we’ve clocked out, to being worried about missing out, to comparing ourselves, we can easily become stressed out.

But we also discussed some ways to reduce your dependency on technology and ways to reduce your stress levels. Again, technology isn’t going anywhere, but you don’t have to stress about it. Instead, just learn to manage it, rather than letting the technology.