how-you-determine your digital stressGuest article

How you determine your digital stress yourself

While waiting in line at the checkout, waiting for the train or changing the traffic light, in the waiting room at the dentist, even while watching TV, we are always busy: We reach for our cell phones. I especially regularly on the platform when I'm waiting for the train.

If I reflect on the motives, they are logical and common: to want to be effective and to use the time. But: If I now read emails "quickly" and "work away" - how useful is that? I won't remember what I read if I "quickly, quickly" and I won't give good answers. My attention is yes divided.

Or else - and here I stumble: I want to straddle timenot to say to kill. Not to allow boredom. Alexander Markowitz from the Institute for Computer Science at the University of Bonn has found out that we on average Look at our mobile phone 88 times a daywhich is 2.5 hours. Only 7 minutes of which we talk on the phone. The rest of the time falls victim to unlock, to "just look", weather forecast, time, games. Even a mobile phone lying on the table creates restlessness.

Human needs

Three positive human needs are digitally stabbing us in the back.

1. we want to belong

One of our oldest and thus strongest instincts comes from the time when we became humans and could only survive within the group. Our brain is still polarized to this today. The impression of missing out on something or not behaving in accordance with the group gives us a sense of danger.

Tip: Devote more time each week to your real friends than to the Social media communication.

2. we want to be appreciated

Not all children received sufficient attention from the family. Parents were busy - physically, but often not mentally present. They did their best, but the child's need to be noticed was insufficiently met.

They were brought up with commandments, prohibitions, negative feedback. Not to fidget, to be quiet, clean, neat, hardworking, smart, fast . . . The message that gets through to a child is, "You're not right." The new media unerringly dock on this deficit by false hopes of recognition and sympathy by others.

Tip: First thing on each new day, take care of yourself lovingly and consciously - for example, by drinking your coffee with concentration and enjoyment and saying something kind to yourself.

3. we want to be happy

That is also a good thing. However, the happiness messenger dopamine is already released in the brain when we expect something positive. We don't check our mobile phone because a new message has arrived, but because it might have. We know this from other addictive substances such as sugar or alcohol: The dose must be constantly increased to achieve the same effect.

Tip: Write a list of 20 little things that make you happy immediately and easily - e.g. a piece of chocolate, a nice saying on the mirror, a visit to the nice colleague next door, and treat yourself to some of these things every day.

Mistakes that stress us out when dealing with digitalization

How much time and energy does it cost you today to be upset or worried about constant digital changes that you can't change? Your employer introduces a new software for billing? Customers communicate with you online, the telephone system has been switched to a central computer? New legal requirements demand new address databases and seemingly pointless additional activities?

Unlike mankind's switch from the horse to the airplane, there is no holding back when it comes to digitalization. It has long been arrived in all walks of life and will continue to do so. And that's a good thing, because no one wants the tube TV back or to stand in line for theater tickets. There are a few mistakes that make it difficult for us to deal with the new world.

Mistake 1: We focus on the negative

Our brain always follows the tendency to recognize problems and dangers faster, to remember them better and to make them bigger than they are in reality. Do we experience negative stress, because we feel overwhelmedIf we are afraid or similar, we still get the so-called tunnel vision. That is, we see more problems and no solutions.

Tip: Randomly, there is a 50/50 chance that something will also get better. Especially when we deal with it, so that it becomes more familiar and we do it with joy.

Mistake 2: We are against instead of for

In many companies, energy, time and money are invested to win over all employees for the digital changes and to bring them along. Experienced employees in particular often resist this. Although they have long been living with television, radio, car, telephone and much more.

It takes a lot of strength to be against something and hinders the brain in its normal work. Then even the daily familiar things no longer bring joy. But it's not digitalization that's to blame, it's our resistance to it.

Tip: Better would be to go on a journey of discovery, to test what is possible. Our brain loves to learn and solve problems. And after 30 days to 3 months begins a new sense of familiarity.

Mistake 3: We think the end is in sight

In our daily work we are experts for newspapers, dentistry or insurances, which is why we want to get rid of digital things quickly in order to be able to move on to the "real" task. But once the last email for today has been answered and the latest update has run, a successor is guaranteed to follow.

Tip: If we don't expect an end at all, but the next new version, then that doesn't upset us anymore.

Mistake 4: We want to master everything immediately

We wish to penetrate and understand things. And that as quickly as possible. Not having time is the order of the day. When it comes to digital topics, we expect the same. Even if we haven't grown up with them at all. After all, digitalization is only about 20 years young, the smartphones eleven.

Tip: Put time in your calendar to engage with new things. The new technology invites you to discover, try out and get to know, instead of knowing everything at once.

Making friends with the digital world

Five tips on how to increase your well-being in the digital world by 100%:

  • Start each day by asking yourself what you are going to do for your well-being today.
  • Smile at your phone every time you reach for it. Smile leads to the release of the cuddle hormone oxytocin, which brings us relaxation.
  • Walk barefoot at home as often as possible, it will ground your restless head.
  • Write an (authentic) thank you in emails. That someone took time, reacted quickly, thought about you, helped... Gratitude changes the frequency of our brain waves towards relaxation and is an investment in any relationship.
  • Give yourself at least one hour before going to bed Media ban - including television. The blue light hurts your sleep.

This article is a guest contribution from Dr. Ilona Bürgel.


I am one of the first representatives of Positive Psychology in the German-speaking world and an expert for physical and mental well-being. I have a doctorate in psychology, am an author and lecturer.

Like a common thread, the invitation to a change of perspective runs through my work - away from the fixation on external conditions in our constantly changing world, towards a good approach to oneself. I show very practical ways how it is possible to combine performance and well-being in the long run.

Special characteristics: I live what I say and prepare a positive field of thought, I am a self-confessed chocolate lover, motto: Life is like eating chocolate, full of possibilities, joy and pleasure.