I know when I'm going to have a bad day...when I switch on my computer first thing in the morning and find it exceptionally slow in responding. When the computer slows down to a crawl (30 seconds to open/close one e-mail message or Web page), I feel my stress level rise. My heart pounds faster, and I feel my back muscles between the shoulder blades tighten.
As the day progresses, and if the computer continues to run slowly, I get, amongst several things, agitated, impatient and grouchy. Even an innocent question from a coworker about deadlines can get me all riled up.
Last weekend, I decided to Google for answers and did what I said I would do months ago--I defragged the computer and cleaned up my Inbox. (I still have tons of unread 2005 e-mail messages, including spam.) But of course, there could be other reasons for a slow computer, such as spyware, too many background programs and insufficient memory.
Recognizing that you have a problem is always the first step in the right direction. And although there is still a lot of cleaning up to do in Outlook, and the computer doesn't run as fast as when I first bought it, at least I've begun to deal with the cause of my stress.
While researching on this, I came across one Web site which listed the top 20 stressors in life--computer stress wasn't one of them, surprisingly. The article was probably posted no later than 1993, the copyright year of the Web contents and a time when businesses had started to use computers, albeit not as extensively as they are today. If I were to update the posting today, I'd certainly list computer stress right up there, next to the other financial, marital, social and work problems that can cause stress.
If you, too, are stressed out by your computer, check out the Smoooth deep breathing assistant, a relaxation technique designed by Coherence Resources.
The site also offers other stress-busting tips. I'm not sure if this relaxation exercise helps, but it may be worth a try. The next time the computer slows...take a deep breath...relax.