Too much tech is stressing us out, says new study

Monday 11 July 2011 00:00 BST

Are all your gadgets, devices, and social networking causing anxiety and stress? Turns out, according to new research, one out of three people claim they're overwhelmed by everything from email to Twitter.

In the study announced last week, the University of Cambridge polled 1,300 people in the UK and revealed that feeling stressed about your communication technology can lead to general feelings of dissatisfaction with your life.

Interestingly, even younger tech users reported similar feelings of stress. The study noted that about 38 percent of study participants ages 10 to 18 felt overwhelmed by too much technology, compared to 34 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 34. 

This study follows another announced earlier this year that claimed Facebook and similar social networking sites can leave some feeling depressed. Stanford University in the UK researchers showed that because people tend to publicize only good moments, photos, and events in their lives, while hiding the negative ones, users are left with a skewed view of their friends' lives, feeling sad or dull by comparison.

One way to avoid negative feelings associated with technology is to take steps to control it: for example, avoid distractions by turning off automatic email notifications, according to a recent report in the UK's Guardian.

WebMD interviewed Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, who recommends the following tips:

Turn off your devices for shorts periods of time. Your life won't implode, Ferriss states, but expect a period of withdrawal or anxiety.

Leave your mobile phone and PDA at home one day a week. Ferriss recommends Saturdays.

Devise a "not-to-do list." For instance, don't check email before 10 a.m., he says. Attempt to set some limits.

Accept the fact you can't respond to 500 emails a day. "A big part is getting over yourself," he said. "You don't have a superhuman email checking ability."

Learn moderation. Make a note of how many times a day you check your email, or how many times you scan your social networking sites, experts recommend. Realize when you have a problem, and make a practice of not being a slave to your devices.

Read more on the subject:

Thinking of going on a digital fast? Here are some tips:

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