According to a 2014 study by the American Psychological Association (APA), 77% of people experience physical symptoms of stress regularly. This finding backs up something you probably know, that almost everyone is feeling stress. This study also found that 48% of people say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life!
Causes of stress
Did you know that 51% of surveyed adults found that violence/crime were among their most common sources of stress in 2017?
This source of stress fell in the top 5 alongside things like money, work and the political climate. Sometimes you cannot control the factors and sources of stress in your life, but learning how to de-stress is invaluable since almost everyone is feeling stress in their lives!
Stress Leads to Health Problems
Your body and mind both respond to stress because of the “fight or flight” response which helped our ancestors to keep from being eaten. Even if a predator isn’t trying to attack you, stress can still trigger this response causing your blood pressure and heart rate to increase. When this happens over a sustained period of time, it can really affect your health.
According to research compiled by AARP, the following are just a couple of conditions that various studies have found could be caused by stress. Even if stress didn’t cause these conditions, it can certainly exacerbate them.
- Heart disease and/or high blood pressure
- Depression, Anxiety and/or Sleeping Disorders
- Chronic heartburn, Acid Reflux and/or Ulcers
- Headaches or Migraines
- Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain
- The Common Cold
Ways to De-stress with the Help of Technology
In the modern world, technology is also a stress factor. The APA’s Stress in America™ 2017 report found that 86% of Americans say that they constantly or often check their devices (for emails, texts and/or social media accounts). Americans who consider themselves constant checkers of their devices had a higher overall (self-reported) stress level, the study found.
The relationship between stress and technology is not all bleak, however. Here are some ways that technology can help you decrease stress in your daily life.
- Monitor Your Home. Since crime/violence was found to be a big cause of stress, adding smart home security to your home can help you destress. Security systems can be controlled with an internet-connected smart phone, allowing you to check-in if you need to and see if you remembered to close the door or arm your security system. You can even automate devices to work together; for example, you could have your smart lock remotely lock every time that you arm your system. This will allow you to know that your home is monitored so you can let go of that stressor!
- Use Smartphone Applications. Aside from a home security app like the Guardian Protection Services App (for iPhone | Android), there are many apps that are made just to help you destress. You can download apps to help you meditate, do yoga, do breathing exercises or even get therapy! If you’ve found a method that helps you destress, see if there’s an app for that. If you haven’t yet found a destress method using an app, there are many that are cheap or free to try and allow you to explore different methods in the comfort of your own home without a large initial investment.
- Motivate Yourself to Exercise. Fitness trackers allow you to motivate yourself to get up and move. Exercise is known to help relieve stress by releasing endorphins. The APA found in 2013 that adults who exercise at least once a week report lower stress levels. The internet offers many options for exercises you can do at home. Many are free on YouTube or you can pay for a subscription to services.
- Talk to someone! The APA has also found that people with emotional support are less stressed than those without. Loneliness can be stressful! Use your phone to reach out to someone. Call a friend or family member. Reach out via email or social media. You can even write a letter and use technology to look up the address. Technology makes us more connected than ever before, but it’s important that you use this to actually reach out to people 1-on-1 rather than just following someone’s social media accounts, at least if you’re trying to feel less lonely.
- Unplug. The APA’s Stress in America™ 2017: Technology and Social Media report also found that 65% of Americans agree that people should periodically unplug for their personal mental health. Sometimes you just need to take a little technology break. If you’ve already tried the first 4 ideas, you might simply put down your phone or even just turn off the internet. There are apps and programs that block specific sites like social media if you just want to detox from a particular part of technology.