Friday, February 22, 2008

Breathe when reading Email!

Something interesting for the weekend... When you get to work and open your email, do you experience some kind of tension? Most people seem to. Have you ever paid attention to how you breathe when you read your email? Your breathing changes! As Alex Wright said:
This seems like one of those discoveries that was hiding in plain sight. Thinking about it, there's no question that I do indeed tend to hold my breath while reading my e-mail.
So does this have a name? Yes it does, says Linda Stone (yes of "continuous partial attention" a.o.). It's called Email Apnea. Email apnea is "a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while doing email". She found our from her own work practice, but also she:

... observed others on computers and BlackBerries: in their offices, their homes, at cafes. The vast majority of people held their breath, or breathed very shallowly, especially when responding to email. I watched people on cell phones, talking and walking, and noticed that most were mouth-breathing and hyperventilating. Consider also, that for many, posture while seated at a computer can contribute to restricted breathing.

Does it matter? How was holding my breath affecting me?

I called Dr. Margaret Chesney, at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Research conducted by Dr. Margaret Chesney and NIH research scientist Dr. David Anderson demonstrated that breath-holding contributes significantly to stress-related diseases.
Wow, we have to watch out! So, what's the solution? "Breathing exercises"! Something to think about during the weekend, eh?!

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