Checking your email? Remember to Inhale

Close your inbox and take a breath.

In 2008 Huffington Post writer Linda Stone noticed she had a tendency to hold her breath while reading and responding to email. Further observance of her co-workers illustrated she was not alone. Whether on a computer or a smart phone, people tended to breathe shallowly or not at all.

She called the condition email apnea and defined it as “a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing while doing email.”

It’s just another reason managing email is more important than ever. In “Inbox Intervention”, journalist Holly Munson explored how email can turn us into addicts—always waiting for the next ping. But beyond the conquering the mental response, your body could also need a break from cc’s, forwards, and reply alls.

Holding your breath deprives you of your most vital need and affects you on a cellular level, contributing to stress-related conditions. Without oxygen the body’s ph-balance is thrown off, sending your physique into fight-or-flight mode. Adrenaline levels surge and that translates into stress—all while you sit in your office chair.

Wellness expert Dr. Andre Weil recommends breathing exercises to release tension and bring the nervous system back into a rest-and-digest state. To begin, sit up straight and place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth for the duration of the exercise. Repeat the steps three times.

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for four counts.
  3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth for eight counts.