Not long ago, I asked Pamir Kiciman about his ideas for a guest post. Pamir writes for Reiki Help Blog about practical spirituality. I wasn’t disappointed when his first response said, “I really see no content to help the person doing the biz, it’s all about the tech, biz itself, content, clients, selling, etc. . . . So my idea for your readers is a piece about being healthy at the desktop, some practical, easy-to-use self-enhancing methods to engender wellness for even better output.”
Take 5 minutes to do what Pamir suggests. I did.
by Pamir Kiciman, BA, RM. CHt
Lay of the land
You’ve identified your niche, settled on a blog platform, know your categories, have a SEO strategy and have put yourself out there on the Live Web. Way to go! It’s fun, exciting and fast. Your blog has a clean design and nifty widgets, comments are coming in, people Digg your content and you feel legit.
You social network, your workspace is simple, you love the resolution of your LCD monitor and your chair is ergoncomfy. You’re ready for another day on Web 2.0, or rather the Web on steroids! There’s the Twitter notification, the new comment too and your buddy IMs, a potential client fills out your contact form. Meanwhile your lover texts you about dinner and romance.
Life is good. Or is it? You have nagging tension in your shoulders, your mouse hand hurts and you want to replace your neck. The next morning none of these are too noticeable. Well, at least until the fifteenth email. Then discomfort creeps in again.
After some time, you numb to the physical symptoms although they persist. Yet productivity drops. Your monitor doesn’t look so hi-def to your bleary eyes, and you feel lethargic, even resentful. You feel you don’t have a single original thought to contribute and everything is an effort.
You promise yourself to do something about it before it gets to this point next time, but when you scour the Web next to nothing comes up for desktop health. Until now. In fact the first page of results in Google returns links about getting your health record on your desktop. If you search ‘blogger wellness’ Google asks if you meant ‘blogs health’ because that’s a nice little category.
Antidotes to blogger stress
There’s a natural function of your body that is with you 24/7/365. This function takes place in its quiet way independently of you. It has a job to do and it doesn’t wait for you to show up. Thankfully. It follows a rhythm and doesn’t waver or hesitate. It comes in and goes out like a finely-tuned clock, and doesn’t expect anything. Selflessly it serves you, while you mostly ignore it.
Can you guess? It’s your BREATH!
Nature has so arranged it that the diaphragm will expand and contract on its own, oxygen will enter and carbon dioxide leave, the lungs will fill and empty keeping you alive. After all, during sleep you don’t notice your breath, why should you when awake? You have so many more important things to handle!
Have you ever watched a healthy baby breathe? See that little stomach go up and down? Notice how easy and natural it is for them. Their breaths are full, smooth not jerky, starting at the abdomen they breathe and fill the lungs. They exhale all the way. There isn’t any constriction or unusual noise in the breath.
This is the breath you’ve forgotten. This is the breath you put on automatic pilot. Your breath is the one friend that you can ill afford to take for granted. It doesn’t require a cell phone or e-mail. It’s free and loyal. It doesn’t argue back.
But breathing without awareness means you’re not getting half of what you could from this resource. The breath obviously brings oxygen into your body and takes carbon dioxide out. The action of the diaphragm massages the internal organs. Even these mundane benefits aren’t properly available if your breath is shallow or high in the chest, or if you catch yourself not breathing for a few seconds (it happens quite often!).
More than all the biological factors of the breath, what it really brings is the new in essence form. Undoubtedly there is more than nutrients, water, oxygen and heartbeat that sustains you. If you think about the longterm effects of stress, you realize that it sticks to your organs, muscles and mind long after the stimulus that created the stress is gone. When you breathe with awareness, you also replace old stuck energies of all kinds with freshness, and each conscious breath becomes a house-cleansing.
Recommended for daily use at your monitor, 3 times a day for 5 minutes each time.
- Turn off your monitor & sound, as well as cell phone. Turn away from your monitor if you like.
- Sit comfortably in your chair with your spine erect but not rigid.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed.
- Hands are comfortably in your lap.
- Get a sense of your posture & purpose. This is your time.
- Tune into your body. Simply observe your body’s natural breath, without changing it.
- Get to know your breath, how your body breathes, and all the sensations and feelings associated with it.
- Gradually deepen your breath and make it slower and longer.
- Direct your diaphragm to expand slowly, inhaling slowly, making sure the breath starts in the abdomen and fills the lungs from the bottom up.
- Consciously direct on the exhalation, making sure to exhale slowly and all the way down.
- Continue breathing like this for the rest of the five minutes.
- You may reach a calm, heightened sense of awareness.
- After practicing daily for a while, breathing may become minimal toward the end of the allotted time.
When done, take a moment to feel your presence in the room, open your eyes and continue with your day.
Thanks, Pamir. I’m feeling better already!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
thanks for sharing this – I think it’s really important to consciously breathe. I would add: get up, open the window, take a look out of the window, let your eyes bath in the green colour of the trees or in the blue sky. What sort of green is it, dark-green, light-green? what other colours can you see? Good for your eyes after staring a long time at your monitor!
It’s funny how little attention we pay to such an impacting part of our lives. As they say in the book Dinotopia: “Breathe deep; seek peace!”
OMG, my son & I watched the movie version of that, long but good. Guess it’s from the book. It’s essential wisdom, thx for quoting.
Great advice Pamir, Thanks
I appreciate the reminder! :O)
/ ~*~ /
ME Liz Strauss says
My husband read recently that a good thing to do is look up for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes. I like what you do better. It rests the soul too. 🙂
ME Liz Strauss says
Our brains need oxygen, but we forget to give them some. Then we wonder why we can’t think at the end of the day! 🙂
Yes! Looking away from the monitor at regular intervals is crucial. As Ulla points out, nature is even better. Nature soothes & inspires, balances & cleanses. Stunning nature photography will work magic too if vistas are unavailable.
Great advice. Thank you.
Mother Earth says
I pause for a more focused meaningful breath as someone who works from home, and have really noticed a difference in my concentration and how I relaxed I feel. This was a wonderful directive!
Glad you tried it & thx for the feedback. So simple, an ongoing action of the body & with a little attention the payoff is great.
And it’s not only that the brain needs oxygen, but the quality of the breath, how full it is, if we’re breathing diaphragmaticaly, and the all important awareness of it.
Our ergonomic experts at work require a five minute break for every hour of heavy keyboarding or mousing. So I sent your link to the whole office.
I like to walk and do this under a tree too.
Very useful whether posting a blog, comments or other computer work. Thanks, Pamir; and Liz for bringing this to us.
here is a software where you can learn to create an effective text ad.
It Improves Profitability Using Statistical Analysis To Mathematically Study Profitable Adsâ€¦It was called glyphius.
Pamir | Reiki Help Blog says
David, thx for putting it in front of people who can really benefit. And yes, if there’s the chance to include a walk, even short, be in nature…well now we’re talking. If you can’t get away, a visualization of a walk in nature can be part of 5-min breathing.
Karen Putz / DeafMom says
I just realized I was holding my breath a bit this morning as I was opening some work emails– this post reminded me that I need to attend to myself and be more aware of the stress that was building up.
:::taking my five minutes to breathe:::
A few days before I read this I had re-ignited my mini-break daily breathing practice. When I have to concentrate at my desk for long periods, I work for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break to stretch, breathe deeply, and even do a few sit-ups. It’s amazing what deep, conscious breathing can do! I return my desk centered, focused, and energized. So much better than caffeine and sugar. 😉
Pamir | Reiki Help Blog says
Meenakshi, glad it’s useful & good to see you here.
Karen, ah the Monday morning crunch!
Almah, movement in addition to breath awareness is a bonus.
I’ve a companion post regarding personal challenges that stem from your business.