Checking email often leads to higher stress

Checking email often leads to higher stress

Can’t resist the e-mail alert pop-up on your screen? You may be stressing yourself out. A new study from the University of British Columbia finds that those checking their email only three times per day experience less stress than those with unlimited access to their emails.

The study, featured in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, limited half of the 124 adults in the study to checking their email three times per day for a week. During the second week of the study, that group had unlimited access and the other half restricted their inbox access.

“Our findings showed that people felt less stressed when they checked their email less often,” study author Kostadin Kushlev, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said in a university news release.

“This is what makes our obvious-in-hindsight findings so striking: People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress,” he explained.

“Workers may become hyper vigilant about emails, concerned that they will miss something that is important,” says Dr. Kevin Krippner, psychologist with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill. “This can cause stress to rise. The regular checking of emails may also indirectly increase stress levels because attention may be on an individual’s phone or personal email, and not on the work at hand.  As a result, work productivity or performance may be reduced, ultimately increasing stress levels when supervisors or employers are not happy with a decline in performance.”

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  1. I definitely believe this! it’s so nice sometimes to just unplug and then your mind isn’t wandering so much either!

  2. Great article Lynn! Will definitely take this into consideration in 2015!

  3. I’m not sure I’m convinced on this one. I think it would cause more stress for me to let the emails build up and then have to deal with them all at once!

  4. This is good to remember, and why it’s so important to unplug during the holidays and weekends.

  5. I agree with Tim on this one. America relies on email, what if there was something urgent and important?!

  6. The article delivers a great point. America has become so impersonal. If I have something very important and time sensitive to communicate, I would call or meet face to face.

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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.