International Stress Awareness Week – is technology making us stressed?

Monday 5th November – Friday 9th November marks the 20th year of International Stress Awareness Week (#nsad), led by the International Stress Management Association. The theme for 2018 focuses on our use of technology and how this can result in conflicting outcomes – both beneficial in terms of helping us manage our personal and professional lives, but also the adverse (e.g., stress and beyond).

The relationship between technology and stress

The relationship between technology and stress is complex. There is evidence that greater exposure/use of technology (e.g., screen time, social media) is associated with increases in biological markers of stress, and may affect our sleep and memory. The adverse effects highlighted within the literature have been described as ‘the dark side of technology’, and also encompass distraction, dysregulated sleep, disrupted work/life balance, ‘Fear Of Missing Out’, and social comparison.  However, conflicting reports exist, particularly when social media use is considered.  Increasingly, technology is being used a flexible medium to help individuals manage their mental health and wellbeing. In short, the relationship between technology and stress is complex, and encompasses benefits, as well as potentially adverse effects (e.g., stress), which can impact on our mental health and wellbeing. The resources that follow can help to manage any stress surrounding your use of technology.

What to do in a crisis

If you or someone that you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency:

  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance (or ask someone else to call for you)
  • Go to A & E (or ask someone else to take you)

Urgent care, but not life-threatening

  • Call 111 (England)
  • Book an emergency GP appointment

Use the ‘I need urgent help’ tool offered by Mind.

Further information on what to do in a mental health crisis or emergency is provided by the NHS. Help for suicidal thoughts can also be found on the NHS website.

Additional resources to support your wellbeing

The following resources outline tips for dealing with stress, which can be beneficial in promoting a  healthy relationship with technology:

In addition, a selection of resources to support your general wellbeing can be found in the MICE Hub blog post ‘Today is World Mental Health Day’ , published on 10/10/18.

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology).