In today’s world, it’s the complete norm to be glued to our phone day-in and day-out, constantly checking for work updates and emails that might have ended up in the inbox. When email was first invented and brought into our daily lives, it completely revolutionized the way we function in our social lives and careers. The existence of email has certainly had many wonderful impacts on society – family members that live thousands of miles away could now be reached with the push of a button and important memos were able to be easily conveyed through a quick message instead of a phone call or physical letter.
Just like everything in life, though, there are of course negative factors that end up coming into play with the existence of email. Emailing was officially developed in the 1970s, though it didn’t really become popular or extensively used until the 80s and 90s. Today, it is estimated that over 300 billion – yes, billion – emails are sent worldwide in a single day. With such staggering numbers, it’s not difficult to understand how this technological advancement can have negative impacts on humans – namely, the mental health. Mental health is finally becoming more widely valued in society and seen as a vital component to our overall health as people. Today, we’re going to discuss the negative impacts that email can have on the mental health so that we can all hopefully gain a bit more insight and perspective before we become any more fixated on all those pesky notifications.
- The Mind Never Gets to Shut Off
When there is something such as email notifications constantly coming through no matter the time of day, we can become obsessed and, in a way, even trained to constantly be refreshing the email app on our phone to see what else has come through. When this occurs, the brain never really gets the chance to fully turn off at the end of the workday, which can have harmful effects on our mental and overall wellbeing. When we are always “on,” chronic stress and even anxiety can start to plague the mind on a daily basis. This can become more difficult to overcome the longer it goes on for, leaving the mental health in quite the undesirable place.
2. We Become Dependent on Communicating Through Email
In this digital age that we’re in, so many people have started to primarily rely on aspects such as email to do their communicating. Personal forms of communication, like face-to-face conversations and even phone calls, have proven to even be difficult for some people today. These anxious feelings around personal methods of communication can be destructive to the mental health, leaving people feeling like they have to have any and all conversations through typing them out on their phone or computer.
3. The Brain Can Become Trained to Listen for Notifications
The brain is an incredibly malleable organ that can learn things unbelievably fast – and many times we can learn certain things and have a response to them without even realizing it. When someone has the sound alerts assigned to their email notifications, they can become easily triggered and immediately stressed by only the sound that the notification makes. This is especially true for those that receive many work emails when they’re off the clock or even on a vacation. If a simple ding from getting an email is causing a negative reaction mentally and physically, it’s time to reassess and consider turning those sound alerts off – at least during the hours after work, on weekends, and when you’re on vacation.
4. Always Receiving and Checking Emails Can Lead to Burnout
In many industries, it has become the standard to be readily available no matter the time of day. Of course, who doesn’t want to be on good terms with their boss and to lend a helpful hand? While this can be beneficial for helping you maintain a good status at work, always checking for new emails and being available to respond can quickly lead to burnout. Burnout is when there is an utter lack of enthusiasm or motivation to work or do other tasks, which will understandably end up having more negative effects in the long run than ignoring some emails when its appropriate to do so. Burnout can hang around for a while and be difficult to get rid of, so it’s vital to always be mindful of the time and effort you are putting into the element of your life that might be causing you to obsessively check your emails.
At the end of the day, there really is not much that’s more important than the mental health. When it comes to the subject of email, it can clearly have a detrimental effect on the mental state if things are left unchecked for too long. When we feel good mentally, we are able to be the very best version of ourselves for others and we’re able to be more productive, efficient, and helpful. Of course, it’s not always easy to set boundaries when it comes to aspects of our lives like work, but ultimately, our mental wellbeing should always take precedent – and the right place of employment for you will be considerate of that, too.