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Stress and Relaxation Behaviour in Everyday Life (SEA)

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The study "Stress and Relaxation Behaviour in Everyday Life (SEA)" is a new multinational study led by Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Heinz and Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. This study aims to deepen our understanding of stress and relaxation behaviour in everyday life, including providing mechanistic insights.

Stress and relaxation can affect our everyday life. The degrees of effect can vary from person to person and depending on the situation. The SEA team investigates the contextual modulation of physiological and psychological responses triggered by extreme environmental situations (e.g. a global pandemic).

The coronavirus pandemic is upending life in large parts of the world. There is an urgent need to explore strategies for overcoming challenges. The results of our study showed that 24.1% of 1007 respondents in Germany reported psychological distress (Liu and Heinz, 2020, Pharmacopsychiatry), ratings substantially lower than in China where 34.4% of the population reported distress (Qiu et al., 2020, General Psychiarty).

As part of Grand Challenges for Pandemic Research by the Berlin University Alliance, we focus on recent findings with respect to loneliness. We launched a smartphone-based study “SEAL” (Stress and Relaxation Behaviour in Everyday Life with a focus on Loneliness, more details).

Our interview by WissenAusBerlin (

Twitter: @SeaSeal20.

Contact: AG Environment and Mental Health


Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Heinz and Prof. Dr. Shuyan Liu
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Campus Charité Mitte
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin

Dr. Bin Shen
Siuvo Inc.
301 Carnegie Center
Room 100
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States 

As part of Grand Challenges for Pandemic Research by the Berlin University Alliance, cooperation partner:
Prof. Dr. Stephan Heinzel
Free University of Berlin
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin


Liu S, Haucke MN, Heinzel S#, & Heinz A#. (2021). Long-term impact of economic downturn and loneliness on psychological distress: Triple crises of covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10, 4596.

Liu S, Heinz A, Haucke MN, & Heinzel S. (2021). Globale Auswirkungen der COVID-19-Pandemie auf die Versorgung von Menschen mit psychischen Erkrankungen. Der Nervenarzt, 1-5. 

Liu S, Heinzel S, Haucke MN, & Heinz A. (2021). Increased psychological distress, loneliness, and unemployment in the spread of COVID-19 over 6 Months in Germany. Medicina, 57, 53.

Liu S and Heinz A. (2020). Cross-cultural validity of psychological distress measurement during the coronavirus pandemic. Pharmacopsychiatry, 53: 237-238.

Qiu J, Shen B, Zhao M, Wang Z, Xie B, & Xu Y. (2020). A nationwide survey of psychological distress among Chinese people in the COVID-19 epidemic: Implications and policy recommendations. General Psychiarty, 33: e100213.

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