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Healthy Computing Email Tip 457: Breathe

Waiting with bated breath or shallow breathing commonly occurs when people begin keyboarding or mousing. In many cases, breathing rate increases by 30% from 12 to 18 breaths per minute. When really concentrating, our respiration rate may increase even more as shown by boys playing computer games, where respiration rates may increase by 68% to 25 breaths per minute.  This rapid breathing may contributes to cold hands, increased neck and shoulder tension and general fatigue. Learn to relax and regenerate when you breathe.

How To Breathe:

Begin by observing your breathing rhythm and movement as you sit quietly and while working. Sense whether you have more movement in your chest or in your abdomen. Most adults tend to breathe faster and higher in their chest as they work at the computer, which can lead to gasping, sighing, tiredness and shoulder/neck tension.

To breathe effortlessly, slow your breathing rate and lower the location of the movement.  Imagine that your lungs are like a balloon located in your abdomen.  When you inhale, allow the balloon to expand and when you exhale allow it to contract.  As you practice this breathing remember to:

  • Loosen your belt so that your abdomen can expand

  • Exhale very quietly with a slight smile

  • Whisper "Haaaah" very softly as you exhale

  • Allow the exhalation time to be twice as long as the inhalation

  • Focus on exhalation and forget about inhalation

  • Imagine exhaling the air down and through your arms, wrist and hands and out your fingers


Practice this slower breathing many times at the computer. Observe yourself while working and purposely exhale slower and as you inhale, feel your abdomen expand.

The Institute for Holistic Healing Studies and Human Resources sponsor the distribution of Healthy Computing Email Tips. Copyright 2009 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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