How do YOU use your computer mouse? This is what it says about your stress levels
- How you move a computer mouse reveals your stress levels at work
- People who are stressed at work also have different keyboard behaviors
- READ MORE: Expert reveals how you can prevent workplace stress
You may think you are hiding your stress at work, but a new study reveals how you use your computer mouse is a dead giveaway.
Researchers from Germany’s ETH Zurich found that stressed people make sudden, exaggerated strokes with the device.
This is because heightened stress levels negatively impact our motor skills and the brain’s ability to process information, ultimately making us frantically move the mouse, the scientists said.
The study also found that stressed people bash the keyboard, take lots of pauses and make more typing errors, whereas relaxed individuals take fewer but longer pauses, resulting in fewer mistakes.
A new study reveals moving a computer mouse often, over a longer distance of the screen and less precisely is a sure sign you are stressed at work
Lead study author Mara Nägelin, a mathematician at ETH Zurich, said in a statement: ‘People who are stressed move the mouse pointer more often and less precisely and cover longer distances on the screen.
‘Relaxed people, on the other hand, take shorter, more direct routes to reach their destination and take more time doing so.’
ZURICH worked with 90 participants who performed office tasks while wearing a heart-monitoring device.
Some participants worked uninterrupted, while others took part in job interviews and were repeatedly interrupted by chat messages.
And the team recorded each person’s mouse and keyboard behaviors.
‘We were surprised that typing and mouse behavior was a better predictor of how stressed subjects felt better than heart rate,’ Nägelin said.
While both men and women experience stress at work, a 2018 study found that increased levels are more likely to kill men with heart problems.
Researchers from the University College London found men with heart problems are six times more likely to suffer an early death if they have a stressful job – even if they keep fit and eat a healthy diet.
This is because heightened stress levels negatively impact our motor skills and the brain’s ability to process information, ultimately making us frantically move the mouse
Scientists suggest one explanation is men are more prone to clogged arteries during their working lives than women, who generally have a much lower chance of heart problems before menopause.
Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimäki, from University College London, said: ‘Work is a common source of stress in adulthood, triggering natural stress responses that were programmed in our bodies generations ago.
‘These can result in physical reactions to situations like work stress.
‘Our findings give evidence for there being a link between job strain and risk of premature death in men with cardiometabolic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
‘Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels alone are unlikely to eliminate the excess risk.’
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