Healthy Computing: Change your Breath

When working at the computer we generally breathe 30% more rapidly than
when just sitting and relaxing. When boys play computer games they
usually increase their respiration rate by about 80%. Rapid and shallow
breathing may contribute to neck and shoulder tension, referred pain down
the arms and into the hands, muscle irritability and tiredness. Improve
and maintain your health when you observe and Change your breath.

How to Observe and Change Your Breath

Sit comfortably in a chair. Drop your hands to your lap, relax and study
your breathing patterns. Observe where and how rapidly the breathing
movements occur. Does your stomach expand when you inhale and contract
when you exhale? Is your exhalation longer than your inhalation? As you
exhale, can you count to five or longer?

Now place your hand on your mouse and perform fine mouse movements.
Concentrate and focus your attention as you manipulate and click the
mouse. Draw your name backward with the mouse and left click after each
letter. As you performed the mousing task, did you notice that your body
stiffened and became more still and fixed, that your breathing pattern
shifted higher into your chest, or that you breathed more rapidly? In
almost all cases, breathing shifts higher in the chest and becomes more

Use this observation to remind yourself to breathe lower and slower.
Imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach that enlarges when you
inhale and becomes smaller when you exhale. Allow your exhalation time to
increase by reducing the airflow. Make sure that you exhale completely.
Imagine that you are gently blowing air over your lovers or babys eyelids.
Do this with a slight smile.

During the day, observe your breathing. If you find that you are
breathing rapidly or in your chest, slow your exhalation and shift your
breathing to your abdomen. Practice slow breathing before you begin
a task.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for
personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing
Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written
consent of the copyright holders

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Written by Katherine HughesGibney

Explore Wellness in 2021