According to a new study by the Physiological Society, participants indicated that losing their smartphone is almost as stressful as the threat of a terror attack. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

The Telegraph published a fascinating article yesterday citing a recent study done by the Physiological Society of Britain. Essentially the study looked at 2,000 people in Britain in order to assess a wide range of stressful events linked to today’s society and their effects on the body. Participants were asked to rate each hypothetical event from 0 to 10, 10 indicating “Very stressful.”

As you may have guessed, events like “Death of spouse/relative/friend” or “Imprisonment” scored very high with job-related and money-related issues following suit. What’s interesting is, however, that according to the study, most people would find that losing your smartphone is almost as stressful as terrorist threats. With a 0.05-point difference, losing one’s smartphone is ranked just one lower than terrorist threats!

However, it’s also important to note that the fear of a terror attack came in 13th with a score of 5.84 and the prospect of losing your smartphone came in 14th with a score of 5.79, meaning that the stress level related to terror attacks is generally low and seem irrelevant in most people’s daily lives. So in essence, it doesn’t mean much that these two fears are ranked similarly by the study’s participants.

So in essence, it doesn’t mean much that these two fears are ranked similarly by the study’s participants.

What the study does highlight is the different types of sources of stress that we face in today’s world. As Dr. Lucy Donaldson, Chair of the Physiological Society’s Policy Committee, points out, “The modern world brings with it stresses we would not have imagined 50 years ago, such as social media and smartphones… [and] while many people are aware of the effect of stress on mental wellbeing, it is also important to consider the impact on the body’s systems.”

The study is based on a 1967 report which outlines how different life events affected people back then, and although the loss of a loved one remains at the top for both studies, events like “Identity theft,” “Divorce,” “Terrorist threats,” “Losing smartphone,” or even “Brexit” are unique issues of the 21st century.

You can click here to learn more about the study.

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