Email does your brain in

stressyResearchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have come to the less than startling conclusion that continually checking your email is a stressful business.

It’s been known for ages that getting snotty emails from your boss, your ex or the taxman can give you a real headache. But, to be fair to the scientists at UBC, they have put it to the test.

The university assembled 124 adults ranging from students to financial analysts, medics and others and told them they had to limit checking their email to three times a day for a week.

Others were told to check their email as often as they wanted to.

The situation was then reversed with both sets of people while they also answered daily surveys including info about stress – presumably not by email.

Kostadin Kushlev, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Department of Psychology said people felt less stressed when they didn’t check their email as often as they did.

But, and there is a but: “Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day.  People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress.”

Kushlev suggests organisations might reduce stress levels in their staff by getting them to check emails less often rather than constantly replying to messages.

Financial analysts are probably stressed if they don’t check their emails every few minutes, we’d hazard to guess.