Email Apnea?!?!?! Argh!

Email Apnea?!?! Do you do this too?

Over the years, as my yoga practice has become a more deeply rooted part of my life, I have found myself becoming aware of things that I do unconsciously throughout the day. Of particular concern to me were things that I noticed, during my workday while sitting at my desk in front of my computer.

An easy ‘first catch’ was my obvious ‘computer posture’. Even though most of my spine was being held mostly straight, I still was hunching my shoulders forward and internally rotating them.My neck was craning so far forward that at times I needed to prop it up on my hand because it got so tired. Enter sore wrists… Through months of conscious corrections and also working on proper strength and alignment through yoga practice, I find that this now happens less and less often. When it does happen, I seem to become aware of it more quickly and am able to correct it on the spot. It is a constant effort, kind of like playing ‘whack-a-mole’ on some days.

So, just when I think I have that under control, I realize that there is another, very harmful thing I am doing for probably up to 75% of my workday – I am holding my breath for long periods of time!

I HOLD MY BREATH WHILE EMAILING!!!!

Holding my breath causes me to feel anxious and stressed! Why have I never noticed this before? Why do I do this? Is it just me?! So…I did some research and found out that (to my relief!)it is not just me. Apparently 80% of us do this! There is even a name for it – EMAIL APNEA.

Here is what I found out:

Email apnea is defined as extremely shallow breathing and breath holding while reading and responding to emails and texts. This is bad for you because it not only causes feelings on stress and anxiety, but it contributes to stress related diseases, increased acidity in the body, and disturbs our balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Ideas on how to nip this habit in the bud:

– becoming aware of holding your breath and anxious feeling related to this is the first step
– if possible step away from your computer for 5 minutes every hour to reconnect with your breath before returning to what you were doing

Here is what I’m going to try:

– a huge cheerful sticky note on the wall behind and to the right of my screen to remind me to breath whenever I look at it.
– try to practice conscious breathing at my desk as much as possible and set alarm reminders to buzz me back to it whenever I stop breathing again

Do you do this too? What would work to help you to remember to breath while emailing and texting?