I'm not really in the dark when it comes to things that cause me stress (even my very small daughters can tell you that traffic ranks right up there), but I'm nonetheless intrigued by an app that monitors users' stress levels and logs their daily stressors. Developer Dirk Trossen, PhD, with the University of Cambridge, describes how the app works and shares a few other thoughts in a New Scientist Q&A:
Aren't people aware of what stresses them and how their bodies respond? We want to help people get away from preconceived ideas of what is important. Heart rate is a very good example. It is such a concrete, well-known parameter that people tend to focus on it. But increased heart rate alone actually gives you very little sense of someone's stress level.
Why is it important to keep track of all of this? Stress can undermine our health in the long run. The fact that today's workforce is likely to work longer than the previous generation increases the importance of stress management as an aspect of general well-being. We want users to be aware of the ways stress can negatively impact them.
You've been monitoring yourself with the app for over a year. What stresses you? Email. Insights into how it interrupts my work have caused me to change my behaviour. I now have clear intervals between checking email, and even entire blackout days where I don't look at it. I have also changed how I travel. Yet, apart from stress management, it is sometimes just fun to look back. Though this isn't its main purpose, the app also makes a worthwhile memory collection tool.
Previously: Stressed? There’s an app for that and No surprise here: Anger and stress are bad for your health
Photo by Danielle Scott