A new study by PhD candidate Kostadin Kushlev and Professor Elizabeth Dunn in the Department of Psychology at UBC suggests that easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress. Read first-hand about their research in this article they co-wrote in the New York Times.
Stop Checking Email So Often
Is email overload bad for you? This is a complicated question. Although researchers have found a correlation between dealing with email and adverse well-being (for example, feeling stressed or emotionally drained), this does not mean that email itself is necessarily the culprit. (Perhaps a busier work schedule is what causes stress — and spending lots of time on email is a mere artifact of a busier work schedule.) Furthermore, such research suggests that, even if email is the culprit, the sheer volume of email that people handle might not be the problem.
This points to another possibility: Could the frequency with which you check your email play a role in causing stress? After all, three-quarters of workers report replying to email within an hour or less of receiving it, according to a recent survey of 503 employees at workplaces in the United States.
This question motivated us to design an exploratory two-week field experiment, the results of which will appear in next month’s issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
This popular study received local, national and international media attention:
UBC News Release: Check less to reduce email stress
The Washington Post: Stressed? Try checking your email less
The Guardian: Sit back, relax and ignore your email inbox. Nobody expects you to read it all
New York Magazine: You’ll Be Less Stressed If You Check Your Email Less Frequently
CBC News: Stress linked to frequent email checking
The Vancouver Sun: Want to reduce stress at work? Stop checking those emails
The New Republic: Stop Checking Your Email So Often. It’s Stressing You Out.
Huffington Post: Checking Email Is Increasing Your Stress Levels, So It’s Time To Stop
Fast Company: The Science Behind Why Constantly Checking Your Email Is Making You Crazy
CTV News: Stress Linked to Email Checking
CBS News: Stressed? Close your email