Magazine article Psychology Today

This Is Your Brain on Gmail

Magazine article Psychology Today

This Is Your Brain on Gmail

Article excerpt

CONSUMED BY A DAILY TIDE OF MESSAGES? TAKE THE POWER BACK.

DO YOU GET a sinking feeling whe never you open your inbox? In a study of British government workers, reading and sending messages corresponded with increased heart rate, blood pressure, and level of the stress hormone cortisol. Email often presents a disorienting range of stressors: news that a colleague is out sick; a spouse's passiveaggressive note; a boss's urgent request. Keeping up can be a struggle, but there are many small ways to prevent email from overwhelming you.

Start your day with a routine that sets a stress-free tone. Spend those first 20 minutes of your day focusing on things that nourish you-running, meditating, cuddling with a pet. Create a task list before you even open your inbox. Schedule email time, but keep it in its place.

Separate your personal inbox from your work inbox and consider additional folders or inboxes to keep you focused on the task at hand. The most inefficient inbox is one that pulls you in many different directions.

Take a breather before you respond to a stressful message. Engage in an activity that helps you restore your peace of mind or sense of well-being, such as taking a quick walk, sending a text to a loved one, or thinking of things that you feel grateful for. …

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