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» How To Reduce Stress From Computer Use

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Computers cause emotional and physical stress; learn techniques to reduce the stress on your brain and body with these tips.
Computers cause emotional and physical stress; learn techniques to reduce the stress on your brain and body with these tips.
In today’s high technology world where computers have become a necessity, more and more people are having the ache in the middle of the shoulder blades and sore necks from awkwardly staring at computer screens.

While computers can be a great tool to increase productivity in the work place or home office, they can also actually lead to many physical, emotional and worker productivity challenges.

Computer stress these days is becoming more and more problematic as we all spend increasing amounts of time at our computer workstation or laptop PC.

Here are some ways to reduce that stress and help your day go better.

Types of Computer Related Stress

PC and Computer Problems – Nothing frustrates us more than having PC problems while trying to work. And heaven forbid your hard drive fails and you lose your data. To prevent these frustrations, be sure to back up all your data files regularly! If your machine is slow, consider purchasing a new PC or Laptop Computer or periodically reformat, re-install the operating system, applications, programs and data files; all operating systems degrade over time, slowing the machine and often the installation and upgrade of programs causes system conflicts, so a fresh start is needed every once in a while!

Eye Strain – Perhaps the most common affliction that heavy users of computers suffer is eye strain. To prevent your eyes from going buggy, it’s critical to take a break away from the computer; how often depends on your age, eyesight and other factors, but a five minute break every thirty minutes at least will improve your productivity greatly. If you have an older CRT display and video card, upgrading to a larger LCD monitor and higher resolution video display card may be just the ticket.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal Tunnel and Repetitive Stress Syndrome are the most serious and potentially permanent problem experienced by computer users. Severe cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may require surgery to correct the problem. To prevent stress in your fingers and wrists, it’s important to have the most ergonomic computer desk, keyboard and chair possible. If your hands are way above or below your chair’s armrests, chances are you need to change something. Taking regular breaks from your work is one of the best ways to prevent Repetitive Stress Syndrome.

Neck and Back Fatigue – As with eye strain and Repetitive Stress Syndrome, ergonomics are crucial to preventing fatigue in your neck and back. If you spend eight or more hours a day at your keyboard, definitely invest in the best chair you can afford. An adjustable footrest can also be helpful; try to change the position of your body often in order to keep your muscles relaxed and prevent the stress from building up!

Periodic breaks are the best way to relieve computer related stress!
Periodic breaks are the best way to relieve computer related stress!
Mental Fatigue – Take a nap, go outside for a walk, do some stretches and don’t try to work twenty hours straight! Your quality of work and productivity actually decrease if you try to work more than about eight or ten hours in a single day; guaranteed! Don’t try to be the office hero who brags of working eighteen hour days…

Writer’s Block – If your computer related job involves design, writing or another creative endeavor, then you know writer’s block happens. When you have a bout of creative block, get away from the computer. Play a game, read a book or get together with co-workers and brainstorm for ideas; anything that helps gets the creative juices flowing!

Lack of Focus – If you check your email every five minutes, IM friends all throughout the day, surf the Net while working, or any of a thousand other possible distractions, you are like most people who lack focus. Try to schedule your time so that you can do all those things, but not while you’re working! Check email once an hour or even just twice a day, turn off Instant Messenger when you need to focus; your productivity will skyrocket if you follow these simple tips.

Improving Your Computer Ergonomics

First, make sure that your computer monitor, desk and chair are comfortable for you to sit and work in. The monitor should be about eye level, so you don’t have to strain up or down looking at it. The keyboard should be just above your lap because that way your hands and shoulders won’t tire as easily. Choose a chair that supports your back and offers a comfortable height that you can adjust if needed.

Tips to Help Relieve Computer Related Stress

  • Now she has the right idea on stess relief on the job!
    Now she has the right idea on stess relief on the job!
    Place both hands palms forward on the back of your head. Slowly bring your elbows back and feel the stretch in your pectoral muscles and rhomboids. These two sets of muscles (pectoral and rhomboids) work together and when you work with your hands in front of you at a keyboard the pectoral muscles are contracted while the rhomboids are extended. This stretch allows both of them to relax.
  • Interlace fingers palms down and bring your elbows up, this will stretch your fingers. Rotate your wrists in clockwise then counterclockwise circles. This will help combat repetitive stress injuries.
  • Look away from the computer and get up every so often to stretch. Walk around and drink some water. Water is important for health especially if you are in a sedentary job.
  • Many companies offer seated massage to their employees as a benefit. Take advantage of it; your back and body will thank you. Be sure to mention any health issues with your massage therapist, especially if you are pregnant or have problems with your spine. Start now to become aware of issues that may happen. There is no reason to continue to be stressed out while at the computer.

Comments

2 comments
  1. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR
    May 8, 2008

    Computers have added a great amount of stress to our work lives. It is my humble view that computers (that is the associated problems) have doubled our stress at work. Work stress takes a much larger toll on our health than we care to admit. For a handful of money, we give the corporations our health and years off of our lives. Self medication with booze and the plethora of anxiety / depression medications will continue to increase unless we reboot the current system. In my management book, Wingtips with Spurs, I devote an entire section to the effects of stress on our mental and physical health. Not from a medical point of view but rather from the view of a human resources professional of 30 years. Stress kills and will keep killing as long as we refuse to learn the coping tools. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR http://www.michaellgooch.com

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  2. Ruth Guerrero
    October 23, 2011

    I’m a computer student at this moment. Since I practice yoga and meditation for many years, I’m doing a presentation about reducing stress for my school .
    You information is very precise and simple. Very helpful, I will get your book.
    Thank you very much!
    Ruth Guerrero, from Hialeah Fl.

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