Discover what scientists who work on human stress know about how to deal with their stress.
Researchers at the Center for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) (http://www.humanstress.ca/) study the
stress we experience daily and its impact on our health.
Everyday stressors are characterised by four elements: low sense of control, unpredictability, novelty and
ego threats. The moment the brain perceives one of these elements in the environment, it sends a stress
response asking for the release of a specific hormone called cortisol. Once released, cortisol eventually
reaches the brain and latches itself onto the parts of the brain in charge of emotions and memory.
Everybody experiences stress; stress is an adaptive response despite its sometimes embarrassing
manifestations (fast heart rate, voice shaking, sweating, etc.). The danger of stress lies in its repetition,
what we call chronic stress, because the cortisol produced eventually damages the parts of the brain in
charge of emotions and memory and puts us at risk for physical and mental illnesses. We can gauge our
level of stress when it occurs, but then, as the day goes on, we tend to forget about it making the
identification of chronic stressors almost impossible.
iSmart will ask you to enter your level of stress periodically (ideally every two hour during your daily
activities) and will keep a detailed log of all your entries.
Use scientifically-proven techniques to lower your reaction to stress.
When your stress will be too high, iSMART will suggest watching short videos describing proven
techniques to help reduce your manifestations of stress. These techniques have been proven effective by
science in reducing levels of cortisol and in decreasing manifestations of stress.
Identify your chronic stressors
iSMART will warn you the moment it detects a repetition of stress responses that places you at risk for
chronic stress and will then ask you to describe what you're currently experiencing to help you identify your
Neutralize your chronic stressors with the help of scientifically proven strategies.
Once a chronic stressor has been identified, iSmart will suggest strategies to help you deconstruct and
neutralize the stressor. These strategies have been proven effective by researchers at the Centre for the
Studies of Human Stress. They are also commonly used in the context of other chronic stress prevention
programs that evaluate their benefits for children, adolescents, workers and even elderly adults.
iSmart, a scientifically sound mobile application
iSmart was tested with 70 workers over a one month period. Participants had to enter their level of stress
every hour and follow the application's advice. In addition to participants' overall satisfaction with using the
app, questionnaire results and cortisol measurements show that iSMART helped people experiencing the
most stress. These results make iSmart the first mobile app backed by science.