What is Technostress?

8 de November de 2021
4 min

What is Technostress?

There are books, movies, and series from more than 20 years ago that are frightening for how well they predict the future.

In this case, we are not talking about The Simpsons and their prophecies, but about a 1984 book that talks about how humanity suffers for not being prepared to use all the technology it has created.

Not because this technology is evil or has rebelled, but because of the lack of personal skills to manage the consequences of its daily use.

“In the book The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution (Brod, 1984), it is defined as an adaptation disease caused by the lack of ability to deal with new computer technologies in a healthy way”

What is Technostress?

According to an article published by the College of Psychologists of Madrid, various authors define technostress as “the negative psychological state, related to the use of technology or its threat of use in the future. This experience would be related to a series of emotions such as anxiety, fatigue, and lack of productivity along with an excessive and sometimes compulsive use.

“Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental”

As in other aspects of stress, technostress implies that there is an inequality between the demands of the environment and our capacities to cope with them. That is, the environment demands more than we can manage. In this sense, its consequences, as can be seen, are similar to those of other types of stress, such as work stress.

The peculiarity of technostress is that it refers to the discomfort derived from the use of any technology device. Not specifically from mobile phones, social networks, or a computer, but from technology in general.


Just like with other types of stress, we have to define what the stressors are that, in this case, exceed our ability to cope. We can divide them into two blocks: environmental demands and lack of resources.

Specifically, the demands refer to the consumption of resources that technologies entail both in terms of time, as well as attention or other cognitive resources, or the excess of information to manage (not always useful when working with it) On the other hand, many times we do not have the necessary resources to face them, thus creating an imbalance.

How can we intervene?

It should be noted that in cases of stress, intervention will always be easier if the stressor is eliminated or mitigated.

If that is not possible, another option could be to apply a series of therapies at an individual, group, or organizational level.

At an individual level: the first thing is to apply techniques that allow lowering the levels of anxiety and activation. It is also recommended to organize habits in relation to technology: reduce the number of hours of use, schedule when they can be used or not, use screens that protect the eyesight, or maintain a prudent distance from it.

At a group level: therapies focused on techniques such as mindfulness can be applied to improve anxiety and strengthen the connection with the present or even adopt a more supportive format in which activities are proposed where no technologies are involved, to promote habits such as sports or social play.

At an organizational level: one of the bases are disconnection policies. Allowing employees not to use technological devices related to work outside their working hours. Another intervention would be directly related to the preventive measures that a company has to minimize the impact of ICT. Another would be the training of employed personnel to avoid that lack of resources we referred to earlier.

Technology is here to stay and it has many good things. But like any other tool, it requires knowledge, skills, and attitudes to use it positively. We have to prepare ourselves to adapt to all the social, relational, work, and personal changes that it implies. Otherwise, the fantasy of the book The Human Cost of Computer Revolution will become our own story.”