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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Dr. Murray Feingold: Study shows using email causes stress

  • Many people in the workplace spend a great deal of time using email. They are either writing or reading them. Because of the availability of email, questions from almost anywhere in the world can be answered in minutes.

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  • Many people in the workplace spend a great deal of time using email. They are either writing or reading them. Because of the availability of email, questions from almost anywhere in the world can be answered in minutes.
    Email has become essential not only in the business world but also in our personal lives. But email, like everything else, has its downside.
    A recent medical article discussed the stress that is associated with email. In the study, heart monitors were attached to office employees who used computers. One group utilized email while the other group did not. They were studied for five days.
    Results showed that those who used emails were always on high alert, and their heart rates confirmed this. They multi-tasked more, such as changing their computer screens twice as often as non-email users. Heart rates of non-email users had a much more normal rate.
    The researchers concluded that workers who did not use email experienced less stress and did not multi-task as often as email users.
    Although not included in the study, the question can also be asked, are Twittering and texting also associated with increased stress? Or, an even bigger question: Is the use of the computer itself associated with more stress?
    The answer is most likely yes, especially when the workload becomes overwhelming –– or, the opposite, when the computer fails to work.
    However, to be fair to the computer –– before computers entered the workplace, stress was present. Prior to computers, the telephone was the way most people communicated. Many of these people were constantly talking on the telephone, and this was also producing stress.
    Computers, emails, Twittering, and texting are now an integral part of our daily lives, be it at home or work, and this isn’t going to change until an even more and better high-tech way to communicate is invented.
    But it must recognized be that the use of all of these gadgets may be stressful, especially at the workplace, and efforts must be made to help relieve some of this stress.
    Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of The Feingold Center for Children, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio in Massachusetts, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.
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