If you’re like most people, you spend some portion of every day stressed about time, obligations, and your ability to get everything done. In an increasingly fast-paced world, where everyone wants a response yesterday, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by unceasing demands.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, it’s not necessarily time constraints that lead to chronic stress. Instead, time constraints may affect how people spend their time, and these choices may lead to even more stress.
Understanding How Busy Schedules Cause Pressure
The study’s authors theorized that conflicting demands could be a significant source of stress. For instance, having to be two places at once or needing to complete two tasks that demand different emotional or intellectual resources could be more challenging.
To test this theory, researchers asked study participants to list tasks according to the amount of time they took, and to then picture themselves completing those tasks. They then asked participants to pretend the duties conflicted with one another. Some tasks were conflicted such that participants would be able to complete only one. Others involved emotional or financial conflicts. Participants reported more stress associated with conflicting tasks, regardless of the reason for the conflict.
The study’s authors believe that the way we think about stress may affect how we deal with it. It doesn’t matter if tasks actually conflict with one another; when people think of them that way, they have more difficulties with time management. When people feel pressed for time, they may struggle to sleep, be willing to spend more money to save time, or experience depression. These issues can all lead to even more stress.
Simple Strategies for Coping With Time Pressures
Researchers suggest that two easy strategies may help people more effectively cope with stress. Slow breathing can help to refocus the mind and calm feelings of anxiety. When feelings of stress become unmanageable, researchers suggest, it may be better to express them in the form of intense emotions such as excitement. Both approaches helped study participants feel less pressed for time.
Is your busy schedule affecting your health? Time might not be the problem. (2015, February 25). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150225094321.htm
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