We've been hard on email here at Shinydocs. Understand we're not trying to replace your inbox. Our success is about making it suck less. But now we've found out the stakes have gotten even higher. Your email is trying to kill you.
It's called email apnea. It's the "temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while doing email.” 80% of people hold their breath or breathe shallowly as they work through their email. It can throw off our biochemistry, messing with our learning, memory, sleep and render us susceptible to disease. Shallow breathing can even trigger a mild "fight or flight" response, dumping glucose and cholesterol into our blood and increasing heart rate. Throw in some typically bad posture and you've got yourself a nice little stress cocktail - thanks Facebook updates.
This isn't some unhinged, hand-wringing technophobe either. Linda Stone has worked special projects at Apple, joined Microsoft Research, taught at NYU and written for Wired, Forbes and the New York Times.
Just remember, you're not defenceless. Duh - remember to breathe. Start paying attention to how your breathing is affected when you're in front of the monitor. Set limits on email. Batch them up over the day so you're doing them in concentrated chunks instead of sporadically throughout the day. Or how about you just get up from your desk, throw those shoulders back, take a deep breath and head out for a quick walk. See you back in 10.