Does stress affect your ability to interact with others at home or at work? … If so, it might be due to the constant exposure of electronic media, or other lifestyle/health factors not considered.
The BodyMindLink series by Dr Ray Pataracchia ND provides insight on Nutritional and Naturopathic approaches that matter most and have the potential to benefit both your physical and mental health. In this series we look at the treatment approaches and body-mind-links of aging, tiredness, mental performance, work performance, digestive upset, food intolerances, stress, cardiovascular health, insomnia, weight problems, and chronic disease. Fall 2014 blog themes rotate between the topics of sleep, tiredness, and stress. Clinical approaches discussed are implemented by the Naturopathic Medical Research Clinic in Toronto, Ontario.
Workplace Stress (Part 3): Lifestyle Approaches to Combat Stress
Workplace Stress – A Three-Part Blog Series
We divided ‘Work Stress’ blogs into three subtopics: i) combating stress with nutrients, ii) combating stress by optimizing thyroid and adrenal function, and iii) lifestyle approaches to combat stress (current blog). The human body has about 15 metabolic syndromes associated with stress that affect physical and mental health.
The Various Lifestyle Factors that Affect Our Stress Level At Home and At Work
Several lifestyle factors have a direct effect on stress and can be resolved with a concerted effort. We can combat stress by incorporating a healthy orthomolecular/nutritional lifestyle that looks at diet, showering/bathing techniques, sleep hygiene, exercise, fun time (laughter), one-on-one time, good posture, stretching, and yoga. Making a resolution to incorporate lifestyle changes can be difficult but not impossible if we take it one step at a time.
Electronic Media: A Major Stressor in Society Today
Media exposure includes electronic or magnetic frequency transmissions from TV, internet, smart phones, radio, laptops, desktops, tablets, Xbox or Wii devices, etcetera.
This blog focuses on eliminating electronic media as a means of alleviating stress.
Excessive Electronic Media Exposure: A Cause of Workplace & Home Stress
Balancing your daily activities can be crucial to combating stress. Media exposure is a clear and common example of a lifestyle activity that can interfere with our ability to communicate and function in daily life at work or at home.
In stark contrast to the pre-TV era (prior to 1958), electrical technology in North America has weaved strongly into our daily schedules. Kids today spend more time on electronic media than before. Canadian Sedentary Guidelines warn that kids screen time should not exceed 2 hours a day.
Canadians, adults included, spend over 17 hours a week on the internet (Google Stats); that’s almost 2.5 hours a day!
A workplace that is dependent on internet and other media technology is difficult to separate from. For some, the best approach is to limit recreational media time when we are off work. Busy people need to take regular breaks away from media and if possible, reduce work related exposure.
Electronic Media Stress: The BodyMindLink
Excessive media exposure affects your physical and mental health. Magnetic and electronic frequency exposure has been considered a causative factor of severe health conditions, ADHD, etcetera. People are certainly reporting sensitivities to electronic media but the evidence for it being a causative factor is debatable. This controversial topic is revealing itself more and more in peer-reviewed journals and here below is a sample of these reports.
ADHD and Electronic Media Stress
The concept of dopamine reward system and video gaming has marked consideration in peer reviewed literature (Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and reward deficiency syndrome. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat., Oct 2008; 4(5): 893–918: PMC2626918). Habituating to the pace and extreme alertness needed to respond to and win a video game may lead some to adopt the attitude that real life situations are underwhelming and do not require as much attention. Some say that this extends to certain individuals who then seek quick reward activities that similarly stimulate brain dopamine reward pathways. Others say that video games can be a form of self-medication. Some mention that the secondary lack of attention leads to social problems in child- and adult-hood. This off-set view of reality versus real life might play a role in attention at work, school, and home. The friction of discord in relationships is a secondary stressor. ADHD kids or adults who lack self-regulation may have greater difficulty setting media boundaries.
Stress/Depression/Anxiety/Well-Being and Electronic Media
The “Electronic Media Use and Adolescent Health and Well-Being: Cross-Sectional Community Study” reports an association between media use in adolescents, poor health, poor well-being, depression, and anxiety (Academic Pediatrics; 9(5), 2009 (Sept–Oct): 307–314). The study also mentions psychological distress as a side effect of media.
Insomnia and Electronic Media
“The association between use of electronic media in bed before going to sleep and insomnia symptoms, daytime sleepiness, morningness, and chronotype” study showed a positive association between insomnia and bedtime use of computers and/or smartphones (Behav Sleep Med, 2014 (Sep 24);12(5):343-57. Epub 2013 Oct 24).
Lack of Activity, Cardiovascular Disease, Stress and Electronic Media
Lack of activity is associated with higher stress levels and cardiovascular disease risk. Regular exercise and less media exposure are important to alleviate stress.
To alleviate stress remember to “unplug yourself” daily and explore and rely on real physical, social, and emotional cues.