The Link Between Technology and Stress

How Our Dependence on Social Networks Increases Anxiety

Our addiction to our smartphones and other devices has led many of us to become obsessive checkers. We check while waiting in line, in meetings, while spending time with family, when we are driving, while hanging out with friends, when we’re eating dinner. It truly is non-stop and has become a reflex. With any unpreoccupied moment that we could be using to be mindful and present in our own thoughts, we instead absorb ourselves into our social networks, emails and work.

According to an American Psychological Association report, 86 percent of adults say that they constantly or often check their email, texts and social media accounts. The report’s findings also detail that our reliance on technology and  is associated with higher stress levels.

The APA news release reports that, “On a 10-point scale, where one is ‘little or no stress’ and 10 is ‘a great deal of stress,’ the average reported overall stress level for constant checkers is 5.3, compared with 4.4 for those who don’t check as frequently. Among employed Americans who check their work email constantly on their days off, their reported overall stress level is even higher, at 6.0.”

Our Technological Reliance is Hurting our Wellness

It seems to be a self-perpetuating cycle. When we are feeling stressed about work, money, or not having enough time, we find an escape through our digital devices. We momentarily remove ourselves from the stress we are experiencing, only to return to our stress minutes, or even hours later, and find we are in the same situation we were before, but with less time to accomplish our work, or spend time with family, or we already missed out on an opportunity to have a conversation with our spouse, take the dogs for a walk or read the kids a bedtime story.

Boosting employee wellness has become a high priority for many organizations today. Thanks to new research highlighting the profitable effects of a happy and healthy workforce, many companies are launching wellness programs to boost employee well-being and lower stress.

But so many wellness initiatives only focus on the physical elements of wellness, like exercise, smoking cessation, diet, etc. We often fail to look at a very large part of wellbeing – the mental aspect.

Using Resilience to Maintain a Healthy Mindset

Resilience training takes stress-management and wellness initiatives to the next level. Resilience focuses on our mindset and teaches us how to overcome our naturally negative ways of thinking. Through strategies that teach us ways to control our thoughts and our reactions to stressors, we can overcome the obstacles that get in the way of our productivity at work – obstacles like reliance on technology.

Through focusing on diminishing our negativity bias and our negative automatic response to stressors, we learn ways to utilize life’s challenges as a springboard rather than a roadblock. We learn to not only bounce back from adversity, but bounce forward. This is because we utilize what we perceive as failures or shortcomings to become better and advance ourselves.

Diminishing Our Technological Reliance

By learning to utilize our stress as momentum for success rather than a stopping place, we can learn to become less reliant on unhealthy escapes, like our device dependence. Resilience training focuses on adapting our mindset which helps us overcome challenges that we face every day, in and out of the office. By removing our negative filters, we feel less drawn to stimuli that provoke disengagement from work and even from life.

To learn more about incorporating resiliency with your wellness program click here.

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