Meds

Email stress could damage our hearts

 

 

 

Thu Jun 6 07:30:00 2013

Kimberly Gillan

       
 
       

 
       
 

Email stress could damage our hearts
Image: Getty Images

 

Just looking at emails is enough to increase blood pressure and stress hormone levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK tracked 30 government office workers and found that when they were reading and sending emails their blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels all increased.

Cortisol is released by the adrenal gland when we're stressed.

Study leader Professor Tom Jackson also analysed written diaries from the participants and found that stress response is worst when we're multi-tasking.

"This study has shown that email causes stress when compared to having email free time," Professor Jackson said in a media release.

"However, if email is compared to other ways of communicating — which was also observed in this study — email is no worse than any other media. Multi-tasking email alongside other communication media, such as phone and face-to-face meetings, increases the risk of becoming stressed."

 

 

Thu Jun 6 07:30:00 2013

Kimberly Gillan

       
 
       

 
       
 

Email stress could damage our hearts
Image: Getty Images

 

Just looking at emails is enough to increase blood pressure and stress hormone levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK tracked 30 government office workers and found that when they were reading and sending emails their blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels all increased.

Cortisol is released by the adrenal gland when we're stressed.

Study leader Professor Tom Jackson also analysed written diaries from the participants and found that stress response is worst when we're multi-tasking.

"This study has shown that email causes stress when compared to having email free time," Professor Jackson said in a media release.

"However, if email is compared to other ways of communicating — which was also observed in this study — email is no worse than any other media. Multi-tasking email alongside other communication media, such as phone and face-to-face meetings, increases the risk of becoming stressed."

Their stress levels weren't as bad when sorting emails or when they received emails praising them for a job well done. It was the emails that required an immediate response that evoked the biggest stress response.

Rachel Clements, director of psychological services at the Centre for Corporate Health, says msn our brains trick our bodies into thinking an urgent email is a life-or-death situation.

"We give our body messages that we have to respond quickly, just like an emergency, and the fight or flight response kicks in. That's where we get stress reactions, such as increasing cortisol levels and blood pressure," she said.

"We have become quick at generating the stress response."

Clements said checking our emails after hours is adding to the problem because we never give our brains a chance to switch off from work.

"We used to go home and have a hobby or connect with family or friends. Now that natural respite is being eroded and we are going to work the next day less resilient," she said.

"Even though we think we are just checking, it is still getting the flight or fight response going. Put some boundaries around that so you can have natural respite time to allow your blood pressure to recover so you can go to work feeling calmer the next day."

Professor Jackson said more training is needed to help employees manage their stress levels.

"The key to reducing workplace stress is better training for staff on how to manage their communication media, from better diary control to limiting how often they check their email accounts," he said.

"Stress can lead to long term chronic health conditions such as hypertension, thyroid disease, heart failure and coronary artery disease so it is vital it is managed."

 

Source:

http://health.msn.co.nz/

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