The UX of Stress

I was feeling stressed the other day and I wondered how much stress I feel compared to others.  I decided to ask around a bit.

Me: You ever feel stress to the point where it is causing physical discomfort or bring you close to tears?  Like throat swelling and heart pounding?

People I asked: Yes, all the time

Me: On an average week, how many days does that happen?

People I asked: 70% of the days

Me: Wow!

I was really surprised.  I thought I was over-emotional and a wimp or something.  Seriously, I thought that something was wrong with me and I was experiencing more than my normal share of stress.  It was shocking to me that other people immediately and without any hesitation admitted to feeling this kind of stress all the time.  There were a few people who said they never feel this kind of stress.  They represented about 20% of the same.

Is this the human condition?  To feel stress all the time?  The same people indicated a much lower ratio of kick-ass “YES” moments.  I know there are studies about the National Happiness Index.  I don’t have an answer of how to be happy, but I know that there must be ways to affect one’s reaction.  Like many blog posts, I feel like I raise more questions for myself than answers.  Wisdom is a difficult goal apparently.

5 Replies to “The UX of Stress”

  1. That’s a depressing statistic 🙂

    As a thought experiment, what if people applied this mentality a bit more often to their lives:

    “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

    As a software developer, I often apply this mentality to things like sign-up forms and other UIs that need to be simplified in order to be made usable. But, what if if this applied to life as well? I’m not the best role model, but I think that the times when I have chosen to remove things from my life, life actually become less stressful.

    I think we live in a time when there is SO MUCH INFORMATION and so much stuff that we tend to just want to add it all to our mental model. And, at the same time, we very rarely stop and question whether or not something should simply be left out. As an example, I think a lot of people have at least one “toxic” relationship. And, often times, we try to muscle through, hoping it will someday be fixed; but the reality is, that it just weighs us down constantly. I’ve had several relationships like that (platonic ones) where I literally just needed to cut people out as they were eroding my happiness to the point where they didn’t even need to be communicating with me for me to actually feel stressed.

    I wonder what else I could cut out?

  2. Stress is a UX you have actually much control over.

    Seriously, if you feel that much stressed, try some relaxation techniques. You can simply try some self hypnosis or something like Vinyassa Yoga (60 min +) which is at the same time a good exercise and keeps your body alive and flexible (good thing for us desk workers).

    I have a freind with asthma and she used to carry an inhaler with her all the time. After she started with Yoga, she realized that she had much more ability to relax at will and now can live w/o the inhaler in her purse. I found that impressive. And yes your mileage may vary 🙂

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