Last Updated Jan 3, 2011 5:40 PM EST
(11 minutes 44) Are you a Blackberry or iPhone tragic? Do you need to be available all the time, via your smartphone? Erica Bagshaw says this need to always be available is one of the biggest causes of modern day stress. Because we don't have the down-time, we get stressed, perhaps without realising it until we keel over from a heart condition in our early fifites.
Part of the problem is that we are aspiring to a lifestyle that might be unattainable. Believe it or not, our desire for work-life balance is making us stressed.
Nigel Marsh, author of "Fat, Forty and Fired" says we have to realise that we can't do everything. You can't mix a high pressure job with looking after threee or four kids --- you can't do both well, he says. So you need to be honest about what various life choices involve and then prepare for that reality.
One of the symptoms of stress is that you lose all sense of proportion. If you don't have balance when dealing with the small stuff, how will you manage when something major happens in her life. Kristine Carlson lost her husband Richard a few years back, but his work helped her through. Richard was the author of "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff", filled with great advice about achieving balance --- like making peace with imperfection.
There is good news for anyone caught in the modern trap of long hours and the salary demanded for high consumption lifestyles. Dalton Conley, author of "Elsewhere USA: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, Blackberry Moms and Economic Anxiety," says for every dominant culture a counter-culture always emerges to temper behaviour. That means we could be turning our smartphones off more in the future, and perhaps taking holidays where we are completely uncontactable. Wouldn't that be nice.
In the meantime there are things you can do to keep a sense of proportion. One of them, says John Ogier, is to only visit for email inbox at pre-determined times, two or three times a day. That way you control the technology, rather than the other way round.
Perhaps another thought to keep in mind "you are not as important as you think you are".
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