Want To Reduce Stress? Study Says You Should Close Some Of Your Browser Tabs

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A new study has confirmed something we've basically known subliminally all along—that our internet browser tabs correlate with stress and information overload. 

Spring might not just be relegated to merely deep-cleaning your home. A Finnish study conducted by students at Aalto University are suggesting that it's a good practice to declutter our browsers. Based on their findings, surveyed users experienced stress while using their browsers, particularly when they began to exceed roughly an average of half a dozen opened tabs. While there was no specific tab threshold, participants commonly reported 1-3 windows with 5-10 tabs running in each window before beginning to feel some form of stress or anxiety (be it from tab overload, pop-up notifications or ads, and even how information is organized on a given page).

Of the 400 online and 16 in-person participants, approximately 57 percent saw their clutter as a mild issue, 18 percent didn't see a problem at all, while 25 percent ranked their clutter as a somewhat to serious problem. Those who did hit that virtual "limit" felt like something needed to be done when they personally felt annoyed by the open tabs. We've all been there: cross-shopping, researching for a project, or even a simple matter of digital hoarding can lead us down the rabbit hole of disorganized browsing and unorganized tab clutter. Thankfully (maybe), there are a few solutions to that can help reduce this tab-related stressor.

Popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge now allow users to organize tabs into groups, which you can then label by topic. Each tab group can be expanded or collapse as needed to visually reduce the number of tabs you see at a time. Further expanding on that, most OSes allow users to create different virtual desktops. I frequently use separate desktops, and thus browser tabs, to organize work and personal life. If you prefer to do a deeper clean, decide on what tabs you absolutely don't need or use more powerful built-in browser organization tools (like Reader modes and Edge's Collections), which allow you to permanently save the links you need.