Stress is a familiar word but a blurry concept. One single peak in stress levels can be caused by being late from an important meeting, losing something valuable, or a tough exam. It is easy to relate to such experiences, that sensation of sweat building up and losing focus when all attention is drawn to a single issue. Once the situation is over, stress eases and recovery begins.
Chronic stress is a state where there is not enough recovery taking place. Momentary instances of stress become continuous and even sleep doesn’t provide relief. Chronic stress is hard to recognize as the load might have been building up for a very long time, even over years.
Chronic stress can lead to burnout
Burnout can be the consequence of stress building up over time and no actions being taken to relieve the situation. Burnout is the result of mental load remaining too high for too long, and the body not being able to maintain the appropriate level of alertness. Mental load refers here to cognitive and emotional load, both of which are present in knowledge work and in our hectic everyday lives.
When someone is already suffering from burnout, their stress levels do not fluctuate anymore and what one is left with is a sense of constant, all-consuming tiredness. Decrease in professional self-esteem and a cynical outlook on work are also symptoms of burnout.
Physical metrics are needed to measure mental load
Stress affects both the body and the mind, but its intensity and length are not easy to assess (Pakarinen et al., 2019). Measuring stress is not straightforward like measuring an individual’s weight or height. Questionnaires give you an overview of the situation at the time the answers were given, but it very difficult to measure chronic stress.
When stress is analyzed as physiological phenomena, it all becomes concrete. Stress kickstarts in our body a complex neurological and hormonal reaction, which can be measured.
The sympathetic nervous system activates as a reaction to a stressful situation. This activation can be measured from the surface of the skin by measuring electrodermal activity. (Boucsein 2012)
The Moodmetric smart ring measures electrodermal activity
Measuring electrodermal activity has been an established practice for over a hundred years. Moodmetric has packaged this way of measuring into a portable form and developed an application for the user-friendly interpretation of the data.
Worn like any other ring, the Moodmetric smart ring provides accurate data on the mental load of its wearer, around the clock. You can see the data in real-time from the app on your smartphone, making it easy to observe the changes you need to do to improve your everyday well-being.