Understanding and fixing Email Apnea

Email Apnea is described as the  ‘temporary stop of breath when we’re in front of a screen’, (especially when texting or doing email). This chronic breath-holding puts you in a state of fight or flight, affecting everything you do and feel like your emotions, physiology, and attention.

When we are working hunched over our computers, or on our tablets, and phones, our chest is compressed and our breathing suffers. When we’re dealing with the stresses of life like email overload, backlog of tasks to complete, our response is to inhale and hold it. We breathe in as we wait for the coming stimuli, in the form of a message, text, picture etc. We give ourselves a feedback loop by clicking from page to page, each time getting a new stimulus.

The problem with holding your breath while checking email is that it puts your body in “fight or flight” mode, which shoots up your heart rate, and causes the liver to pour glucose and cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Here few steps to fix it;

  1. Keep breathing
  • Our breath gets shorter and  shallower so just notice your breathing, and make sure you are not holding your breath.
  1. Take breaks
  • Email apnea is a condition caused by uninterrupted screen fixation, going from one screen to another. So,  build in short breaks every so often,  get up and move around, go for a short walk or even clean your desk! 
  1. Relax your eyes
  • To begin relaxing your eyes, it can be helpful to look away from the screen every once in a while. Look out a window and let your eyes relax into a soft gaze and even close them for a few seconds.

Consider how much creative and productive energy you lose each day to the breath-holding of email apnea.  Consider incorporating these easy techniques to have a more productive work day. 


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