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Put the phone down
Why 24/7 technology can stress you out

01/08/15
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



Technology is an amazing thing. You can talk face to face with a friend thousands of miles away. You can share a video of your cat with thousands of people. You can even find out what your favorite celebrity is eating for lunch. But with this cornucopia of information at your fingertips, how much is too much? 

Jane Bogursky, a therapist with a private practice in Bedford who specializes in stress and anxiety, said that for many struggling with anxiety, technology is a significant contributor. 
“I see many clients who report they have a hard time ‘turning off,’” she said. “[One client said], ‘I just can’t settle my mind. At 3 a.m. when I can’t sleep, I often think about how many emails are waiting for me in my inbox. Even when I’m trying to relax, it is hard knowing I am accessible to everyone.’”
For some, the stress from technology can lead to feelings of worthlessness, sadness and loneliness, she said. It can even cause stomach discomfort, headaches, irritability and agitation, or difficulties with sleep. 
“Managers are expecting access to employees 24/7. Teenagers are viewing pictures on social media of the party they did not attend or, worse, were not invited to,” Bogursky said. “There are countless Facebook posts of seemingly ‘perfect’ families having the time of their lives. Sometimes, technology becomes too much.”
But Bogursky says it is possible to manage the stress that comes with technology. The first step? Turn it off. Set limits for yourself on how much time you will spend with technology and stick to them.
“It may be difficult to let go of the electronic leash, but building in periods of technology-free moments or hours is important,” she said. “Place a basket in the kitchen where electronics can be stored. If they are out of one’s reach, it is easier to be without.”
For many, the stress of technology is attributed to always being connected to their work life. That’s why it is necessary to create boundaries. Inform your employer that after a certain time, your family and your self become the priority, and you will not be responding to work-related messages and calls. 
The most basic way to ease the stress of technology, Borgurksy says, is to change your thought process. 
“Instead of ‘Oh, no! What am I going to miss if I don’t check my email or read my texts?’ change the thoughts to, ‘is the world going to end tomorrow?’ As the Beatles so eloquently sing, ‘Let it be.’ You and your emotional and physical health are the priority.” 
 
As seen in the January 8, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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