Stress and anxiety in the digital age: The dark side of technology

What is it about new technology that is making many of us anxious and stressed? Dr Gini Harrison and Dr Mathijs Lucassen explore the top five stressors:

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1:Perpetual Distraction

2: Sleep Dysregulation

Many of us use our phone at bedtime. You get into bed intending to go to sleep, but you just want to check your phone (just for ‘a second’) to find out something innocuous like tomorrow’s weather… and then an hour later, there you are watching a totally random video, trying to decide whether you hear a computerised voice saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ . Looking at our phones when we should be going to sleep has the double whammy effect of over-stimulating our brains, making it hard to wind down and switch off, and exposing us to blue light from the screen. Research suggests that blue screen exposure can reduce melatonin production, which interrupts our circadian rhythm (i.e. sleep-waking cycles), making it harder for us to fall, and stay, asleep. Unfortunately, poor sleep tends to mean poorer resilience and higher levels of anxiety and stress.

3: Work/Life Balance

While in the past there was often a clear boundary between where work life ended, and home life began… this area is now very much grey. Most of us have our work emails on our phones, making us constantly available and contactable. This makes it very difficult for us to ever truly disengage from work and relax.

4: F.O.M.O

5: Social Comparison

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