Email Is Dangerous To Health

When I first said, “Email is dangerous to health”, I got two kinds of responses. The first one was “you sure meant “smoking” and not email”.

The next best set of responses was in the genre “what anti-virus stuff are you using”/ Of online frauds and spam links and so on.

It took some effort to tell the group that I mean what I said, in a literal sense. I meant it.

Email is dangerous to health? Really? How?

Please allow me to introduce you to the work of Linda Stone, a writer, researcher, and former executive at Apple and Microsoft.

In 2008, well, 2008 can sure sound as the Paleolithic age for many in the digital space, but, yes, 2008. That’s when Linda Stone coined the term Email Apnea.

It started with her getting greater awareness that she had developed a habit of holding her breath each time she opened her email inbox. That awareness lead to another question that is common: Is it just me? Some research with 200 other people later, she concluded that 80% of us experience a disruption in healthy breathing patters when checking email!

As I said, our communication tools have moved on. Email is so 2008!

Google Sheets

That’s my list. All work tools. I haven’t gone near other Social Media tools that also help at work. Twitter. Linkedin and all else with little marginal utility.

Every time I type or compose some message on any of these, I could well be breathing wrong!

So, what happens?

James Nestor, the author of Breath, says,

“As a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences”.

To lay that blame at the doorstep of good old email can be pretty damning! Perhaps unfair too in 2022 when Whatsapp messages that promise to take your breath away, live upto that promise with innocuous precision!

Talking about breath, James Nestor has recommendations for sure. For example, he says, become more aware of your breath.  Avoid breathing through the mouth. A complete breath cycle should last close to 11 seconds.

When I first read 11 seconds, and checked what it took for me, I thought 11 seconds is some extreme card carrying ideal. World peace, for instance.

I wrestled with the disbelief that I needed 11 seconds for one cycle of breath. But then, it was about my lungs and what I could do with them. This is when I began working on them sincerely.

If this seems like a clever promotion for a slick meditation course, I can’t fault you for that thought. Except that it is not. Please consider some facts. Improper breathing takes away much by way of increased blood pressure, reduced immunity, stress. It can be debilitating. Yes. Email can be dangerous to health. 

Here’s what I’d invite you to consider.

Yes. These are my thoughts. Please consider what works for you.

Activity one. Stop right here.  Let’s do a quick exercise. Close your eyes and check approximately, how much time does it take for you a normal single cycle of breath. 11 seconds? Or is it less?

Activity two. Have you tried breathing exercises? There are so many of them. Anulom Vilom? Pranayama? These are simple ways to start and stay present to your breathing. Look them up. Practice small steps.

Activity three. Assess your boundaries. Examine how long you stay away from devices and don’t send messages beyond that time. One Pro tip:  Buy an alarm clock. Keep the phone off the bedroom.

Finally, breathe. Additionally, get absorbed in what will give your life back, like running, even if it seems to takes your breath away.

OWL Despatch
OWL Despatch

The OWL Despatch

 The OWL Despatch is at edition 99. Sharing ideas through The OWL Despatch, frankly, gets me to breathe better. For it is done with a great deal of passion and energy. Every fortnight, I share five interesting reads and here are this edition’s five.

  1. You sent a text – but it’s been an hour, and your friend hasn’t replied to your message yet. Why are you so angry about it? Read more.
  2. Have you considered having a clone? No? Well, at least a voice clone? Well, the technology is here.
  3. The number of people who are interested in hybrid and remote work is ever increasing. If you are one, this guide will help you.
  4. I am trying hard to wrap my head around Metaverse. And then I noticed, that a couple from Tamil Nadu got married in metaverse! That took my breath away! 🙂
  5. I have a fancy for stories. And Paddington is super special. And the story behind Kyoko Mastuoka’s translation brought several nuances alive for me.

That’s that for this edition. The next edition will be edition 100! What can I do to make it special? Please pop in an idea or two! As always, am in the market for ideas. Stay safe and take care.

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