Do You Suffer Without Knowing It? Writer’s Health!

Picture courtesy of Forbes.com

Is your computer screen literally taking your breath away? It’s possible that you are holding your breath while using your computer, without even knowing it. Some people hold their breath while reading emails or messages, some others, during typing, and neither of them knows what they’re doing, or even, that they are suffering from irregular breathing.

You are not alone! We are talking about Screen Apnea.

What exactly is it?

What is screen apnea?

Screen apnea is the temporary cessation of breath or shallow breathing while sitting in front of a screen, whether a computer, a mobile device, or a television.

Studies have shown that over 80% of users suffer from Screen apnea without knowing it. And it’s unhealthy! I went into my personal investigation and found a few things online. What is the problem with shallow breathing?

According to ‘rubmassage.com.au‘ Dr Russell Greenfield believes that over time SA can:
· Disrupt your sleep.
· Lower your energy levels
· Interfere with you ability to think quickly and focus.
· Lead to mood disorders like depression or anxiety.
· Increase stress related disease.

“Screen apnea alters your bodies delicate balance of glasses like oxygen, nitric oxide and carbon dioxide.” Says Greenfield. “ This can cause inflammation and interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight infection.” Amongst a host of other things. (Source: rubmassage.com.au)

Forbes.com’ takes it even further. Most Americans sitting on the computer, or in a car, do that on an average of 10 hours a day, while eating regularly, and moving far too little. Many Americans aren’t aware that getting up, stretching and moving around will reduce stress and take pressure off your body. As many as 40% of the Americans who like being glued to their chair follow the advice of the late comedian Joan Rivers, who said, “I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, He would’ve put diamonds on the floor.”

Chronic breath holding can harm your health, lead to exhaustion and compromise your work performance. Prolonged sitting in front of your screen has been described as “the new smoking.” (Source: Forbes.com)

Now, what can we do about it? Rubmassage.com, Forbes.com, and an additional source, YogaInternational.com, agree on the treatments of screen apnea:

1. Notice when you aren’t breathing. Check in every so often and take some long vagus-nerve (our primary parasympathetic nerve) stimulating exhalations that last longer than your inhalations. Try humming your breath out, count a long exhale, or useujjayi breath to extend your exhalation.

2. Look beyond the screen from time to time, even if you’re glued to it for work. Try not to distract yourself with another screen when you do this, like your television. You’ll probably find yourself taking easier breaths.

3. Get up and move/express yourself. Dance, vocalize, do simple stretches, take a walk. These are natural easers for the breath.

4. Explore breathing practices that don’t involve breath retention and keep conditioning your breath to maintain a smooth, even, continuous flow; try brahmari(humming breath). Place more emphasis on how your breath feels in the moment than how you think you “should” make it behave. Focus only on breathing a few times during the day.

 5. Put your phone on airplane mode every now and then, or turn off work notifications after work hours. 

(Source YogaInternational.com,)

Breath Mindfulness

Chances are screen apnea causes you to use your shoulders instead of your diaphragm to move air in and out of your lungs. You might even stop breathing or hold your breath and not even realize it. Natural abdominal breathing from your abdomen sends additional oxygen to your brain and activates your parasympathetic system (your rest-and-digest response which offsets your stress response). Notice your breathing right now. Do your breaths come from high in your chest or deep in your abdomen? Are they fast or slow? If you’re aware of shallow breathing higher up in your chest, practice abdominal breathing. Take several deep breaths so that your diaphragm flattens downward, pushing the muscles in the abdominal cavity upward, creating more space in the chest so your lungs can fill up. You can’t get as worked up if you force yourself to breathe deeply. Your body can’t maintain the same level of stress with the extra oxygen you get in your bloodstream when you breathe from your abdomen

Moving Around

Statistics show that just moving around can cut your risk of sudden cardiac arrest by 92%, so don’t park it for too long. When you get moving, physical tension and mental stress melt away, and the solution to a mulled-over problem becomes crystal clear. Experts say being on your feet at your desk instead of sitting can help. Simply not sitting gives you the benefits of exercise.

Stand up, breathe deeply, shake, twist, and stretch out the built-up tension. Take a few seconds to reach high. Let yourself feel the stretch as you elongate your body and notice where you hold tension then release it. Shake the part of your body where you sense tension. As you continue to stretch, bring your attention to each part of your body that has remained tight. Bend over and touch your toes and feel that stretch letting the tension in your body evaporate.

Chair Yoga

You can improve your breathing and posture right at your desk in the very chair you’re in as long as it has a back. Sitting in your chair, inhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back as you reach upward with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your seat and reach up from there. Place your left hand over on your right knee. Place your right arm on the back of the chair. Stretch lightly for sixty seconds with eyes open or closed. Notice the stretch and what happens inside. After sixty seconds, bring your body back to center. Then reverse the stretch. Place your right hand over your left knee. Put your left arm on the back of the chair for another sixty seconds. Stretch lightly again with eyes open or closed. Pay attention to the stretch, and notice what happens inside. After three to five minutes of repeating this exercise, you will notice better breathing, a renewed energy and improved mental clarity.

Take An ‘Awe Walk’

An “Awe walk”—a stroll in nature where you intentionally shift your attention outward to the natural environment instead of inward—is a great remedy for screen apnea. Not only does it get you up and moving and improve your breathing, it also clears your mind and gives you a sense of awe from the natural surroundings. So, you’re not thinking about the tight deadline, the unfinished project or the strain in your relationship with your boss. A new study published in the journal Emotion found that a regular dose of awe reduces your stress and boosts your mental health. An awe walk gets your blood circulating and restores your breathing to its natural rhythm.

Screen Glow And Blue-Light Glasses

Most of the technology we commonly use—such as computer screens, smartphones and tablets—emits blue light, which past research has found can disrupt sleep. Workers have become more dependent on these devices, especially as we navigate remote work and school during the coronavirus pandemic. The media have recently reported on the benefits of blue-light glasses for those spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. This new research extends understanding of the circadian rhythm, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. New research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that wearing blue-light glasses just before sleeping can lead to a better night’s sleep, better career decision-making and contribute to a better day’s work productivity.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Using the 20-20-20 rule can help you prevent screen apnea. The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you take a 20 second break, move around and look at something 20 feet away, which relaxes the eye muscles for 20 seconds and gives your brain a much-needed respite. Here’s how the rule works: Set an alarm or time popup for every 20 minutes when you’re working in front of a screen as a reminder to get up from your workstation, deep breathe and stretch. It takes 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax. Every 20 minutes for 20 seconds walk around the room, hydrate yourself, close your eyes or look out a window—perhaps at a tree, squirrel or some aspect of nature. Take off your shoes and dig your toes into the carpet for 20 seconds. And you’re ready to get back to your screen for another 20 minutes.

(Source: Forbes.com)

It’s important that you take care of yourself, no matter where your work takes you. The COVID pandemic has had an enormous influence on our computer/screen behavior and severely limited our free time, outside time, where our bodies can relax and breathe fresh air. Be aware of these changes, and how you are stressing yourself out! Keep writing, under all circumstances! Bu also, stay healthy!

‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’s Progress

Picture courtesy of Google.com

‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is celebrating and you are invited!

This blog exists since 2015. Seven years of blogging, seven years of sharing content, seven years of thinking about what to post next… The same seven years of feeling guilty for taking a week off blogging, and being scared to lose followers.

Despite a few days of a blogging vacation, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ has progressed, developed, and grown. Today I can happily report that this blog has now

1800

followers!

Thank you! Thank you all for following, commenting, encouraging, sharing, promoting with me, re-blogging, and of course, permitting me to re-blog your blog content! You all make ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ a success and fun!

We have our blog categorized, you’ll be able to find the following categories:

All Kinds

Articles About Writing

Author Spotlight

Blog Progress & Awards

Blog Tours

Challenges

Guest Posts

My guest posts

My Work

Personally Important Articles

Poems

Quotes & Inspiration

Re-blogs

The Council Of Twelve Series

Uncategorized

If you would like to be a guest blogger, include ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ in your Blog Tour, or become a featured author, please use the contact form in the widget on the right side. It will be a pleasure to have you here as my guest.

Have fun reading through my blog!

Definition Of A ‘Writer’

When I read that quote, I felt not only ‘confirmed’, I felt encouraged. What a writer Junot Diaz has to be, to say so little and still manage to help a fellow writer who is losing hope sometimes and suffers from self-doubts more often than it’s good for her?

With these few words, Junot Diaz has empowered me, strengthened my will to write, my need to ban my stories on paper, and boosted my self-confidence.

I would say that is a gift on its own… no wonder the man got a Pulitzer prize for his work!

I wish, sometimes, I would be more robust, not tearing myself apart over things… writing is only one of them. I let the words of others still hurt me. Sometimes a simple phone call is discouraging me so much, that I completely lose the ability to encourage myself!

I wonder if that’s another side of the same ability: to empower with words, but also to destroy someone’s self-esteem with words?

I have been down for two days now, brooding over something I was told on the phone, and I’m internally bleeding, so to speak. My way of dealing with that would have been writing, under normal circumstances. But currently, I’m busy with a few other things, and writing is, unfortunately, not on the top of my list.

This resulted in a depressed low I was sitting in for nearly two days now… add the next friend who tells me bluntly that I’m ‘expecting too much’… and I was barely sleeping anymore. This quote here, helped me a great deal!

I wish sometimes, loneliness wasn’t part of my life…

But now, read the quote, internalize it, and understand, what it really means, not only for your writing but for who you are! You are a writer, a STRONG writer! Stay one, live your life to be that writer… no matter what will happen, you are a writer! Be proud of it!

Thank you, Junot Diaz!


Who is Junot Diaz?

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed DrownThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award.  A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is the cofounder of Voices of Our Nation Workshop.

(Source: http://www.junotdiaz.com/)

Wattpad Review: The 90 Million Member Community of Writers, Authors, and Readers – by Robyn Roste

on Self Publishing:

If you’re looking for a writing community that’s part social media, part reading and writing, then Wattpad is the network for you.

Of the more than 90 million readers and writers using Wattpad, the majority are between 18 and 30 years old and located in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom. In the Philippines, Wattpad is the number one app driving physical bookselling and bestseller lists.

In this Wattpad Review, we’ll look at what it is, how to use it as a reader and writer, pricing, along with a few pros and cons.

Continue reading HERE

How Perfect Does Your Story’s Structural Timing Have to Be? – by K.M. Weiland

on Helping Writers become Authors:

Structural timing is one of most prominent features of story structure. This positioning of a story’s important turning points is one of the keys for creating a story that feels right to audiences. As often as not, when something seems off about a story, the problem can be narrowed down to wonky structural timing. This makes structural timing one of the most accessible tools writers can use to troubleshoot weak areas of a story.

However, structural timing is also an aspect of story structure that many writers find frustrating or confusing. How are you supposed to time a story when even you may not be sure how long the finished draft will be? Doesn’t following a precise map for a story’s timing mean your story is more likely to feel formulaic to readers? And, perhaps most commonly, just how precise does a story’s structural timing have to be?

Continue reading HERE

Nobody’s Reading My Author Blog! 10 Tips for Getting More Blog Traffic – by Anne R. Allen

So you have an author blog on your website, but you haven’t posted there for over a year, when your last book came out. Or maybe you started a blog a while ago, but nobody visited, so it’s just floating out there in cyberspace, collecting spam.

It can seem pointless to put energy into a blogpost when the response is always…crickets.

And isn’t blogging dead anyway?

Nope, Blogging is Not Dead.

The fad of blogging about products for money has faded since Instagram took over that area of online advertising, but other blogs are going strong, especially author blogs.

As Rachel Thompson of Bad Redhead Media says, from a marketing perspective, “blogging is pretty much a requirement for anyone wanting to establish an online presence.”

But blogging isn’t a case of “if you build it they will come.” You kind of have to give people a push.

Here are some easy fixes that can push more readers in your direction.

Continue reading HERE

When Characters Try to Run the Show – Written By John W. Howell

Hi, SEers John with you today. I hope your Monday is starting well.

How about those characters? I mean, who gives them the right to walk off with a story that, for the most part, was the author’s creation in the first place? Of course, I’m talking about the fact that characters tend to take over a story and do it boldly without permission. It can be uncomfortable for an author, especially if the story starts to go to a place that is a surprise. But, the characters often seem to take over, which raises a question. Is an author aware when the characters are gaining control?

This post will point out signs that the characters are starting to run away with the show. Here they are.

  1. The writer never thought of killing a particular character, but the character is lying on the floor in a pool of blood. You better believe one of the characters is behind the whole thing.
  2. The writer wanted the story to be about hometown America, but before chapter one is complete, one of the characters shoots up the local food store. You can believe this was not the writer’s idea. The writer had never written a thriller before.
  3. The writer crafts a lovely romantic scene where a couple embraces, and then before long, no one has their clothes on. This was supposed to be a romantic comedy, and we are covering our eyes.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Using real people in historical fiction – how much can you invent? – Written By Roz Morris

I’ve had this question from M:

I’m writing a historical novel set in Australia in 1872. The fictional events are based on real events or phenomena. A few characters are based on real people, who I’ve researched. One is Thursday October Christian the second, grandson of Fletcher Christian, of the Bounty Mutiny fame. During his life he held positions of responsibility on Pitcairn Island. He is making a cameo appearance, greeting characters as they arrive in a ship.

My problem is this. There is very little information on him, so I am wondering how to describe him. There is information on his father, who was a colourful character, so I would like to model TOC 2nd on him. But what would you do?

No matter what you write, there’s one thing you must assume. Whatever you fudge, whatever you’re inaccurate about, will be found out.

Partly this is sod’s law. Your book will find the one reader who knows this obscure thing. But actually, it’s more than that. If you’re writing about a particular time, or a particular geographical place, or a particular exciting profession, you’ll attract readers who love that special story world. They’ll be geeks for it. If they spot something inaccurate, they might shrug and forgive you – or they might lose confidence in you altogether.

CONTINUE READING HERE

92 Paying Markets for Flash Fiction – by Erica Verrillo

on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity:

Flash fiction is shorter than the normal range of short stories, which are generally 3,000 words or more. The precise length remains somewhat elusive. Some literary journals ask for 2,000 words or less, others set maximum word counts in the hundreds. Each publication has its own style, its own format, and its own needs, so whether your 1,953-word short story qualifies as “flash” is entirely up to the editors.

Flash fiction is very popular. There are dozens of sites where you can read flash fiction on a daily basis. This is perfect for people who are commuting on a train, waiting to see a doctor, or have other brief, potentially interrupted periods of time to fill.

Below is a list of paying markets for flash fiction. I have included links to submission guidelines, payment information, and word counts where available. Make sure you follow their guidelines carefully. (Editors don’t consider submissions that fail to follow guidelines.)

None of these magazines charge submission fees.

Get Full Details HERE