The new study featured 124 adults — including students, financial analysts, medical professionals and others — who were divided into two groups. During the first week, one group checked their emails only three times a day, while the other group checked their emails as often as they liked. The groups then switched for the second week of the study.
“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.
However, changing email habits proved difficult for many of the study participants, the investigators found.
“Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day,” Kushlev said.
“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.
Businesses and other organizations may help their workers reduce stress by suggesting they deal with their email in chunks instead of constantly checking and responding to messages, Kushlev said.
The study was published online recently in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion explains how to manage stress.
SOURCE: University of British Columbia, news release, Dec. 3, 2014
Last Updated: Dec. 13, 2014
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