How Obsessive Email Checking is Ruining Our Lives and How You Can Take Yours Back
The social revolution hit mankind at the dawn of the 21st century with a bang. The so called ‘Information age’ began in the late 90’s with the advent of what we call electronic mail or e-mail. In the two decades that have since passed, e-mail has become a household phenomenon and has now got plenty of brothers and sisters in the form of several social networking and micro blogging sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Instagram so on and so forth.
The invention and immense popularity of smart phones has further compounded our obsessive compulsive email checking addiction problems by giving a smooth platform to catch hold of this baby at a moment’s notice (faster & easier than even smoking a cigarette! Who would have thought!!!).
In this article, we take a close hard look at the various social hazards of email addiction and a few simple steps that we can take to insulate ourselves from it.
Email: Running of our life or ruining of our life?
First and foremost, e-mail has carefully cultured an era of non-thoughtful responses. An ancient saying goes ‘Watch your words! Words once issued can’t be taken back’ holds true more so than ever in this age and time. Excessive e-mailing, chatting etc. while giving us the freedom and liberty of messaging/reply at a moment’s notice, has taken away our wisdom and thoughtfulness at a sub-conscious level prompting us to issue words that we will regret later on. This is causing stress in many a relationships both in professional and personal circles.
Secondly, obsessive compulsive email checking has taken away our focus and perseverance; two extremely essential qualities of a progressive and wise mind. To see this trend among youth, who are the future of our civilization, is even more painful and hazardous. It is not an uncommon site to see people endlessly glued to their phones and completely lose track of what’s going around them. It is also alarming to see the constant rise in number of road accidents across the globe due to e-mailing/texting while driving.
There have been several studies done by scientists to see the impact of high speed digital media, e-mail and associates on the stress levels of the general populace. The results have been astounding to see how excessive use of this media is directly proportional to stress levels and increased risk of diseases such as heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, mental depression and so on. The situation is so grave that many subjects who are addicted to constant use of this media have shown uneasiness akin to withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict when kept away from their smart phones for a few days.
How to overcome this addiction
E-mail and other digital media by nature is not bad, but excessive and abusive use of these can lead to several problems stated above. In order to avoid such issues, some simple steps can be taken:
- Regulation not Obsession: It is natural that one wants to make use of this media to connect with friends, family and even professionally. The first and foremost rule of thumb is to use the media in a regulated way outside of the personal time that one must dedicate to oneself and his/her near and dear ones.
- Avoiding Social Intrusion: It is also important that one also limit one’s exposure to zillions of blogs, groups, messages out there. One should be very careful in selecting the email or social groups one wants to be part of and carefully draw a line/circle somewhere. Otherwise, one will simply be bombarded by endless messages from endless sources.
- Time boxing one’s social activities: If you have the habit of e-mailing anyone, at any time of day, at any notice, it will help tremendously to time box your social activity and be free of it outside that time. One may even consider keeping away the cell phone or disconnecting the internet/social media at other times.
- Thoughtfulness in one’s responses: Take some time out to ponder over your responses, especially in critical circumstances and not hold on to the habit of giving instant responses.
- Keeping professional and personal sites separate: As far as possible, one should keep the office work limited to office only and not bring everything including the stress of the e-mail to home.