Do you find yourself frequently annoyed or offended by emails you receive?
And (be honest now!) do you sometimes reply with sarcastic or angry emails of your own?
Turns out that it may not be the content or the tone of the email that causes our negative reactions – it could be our breathing.
In fact, it’s likely email apnea, a term that consultant Linda Stone coined to describe “a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while doing email.”
Nance Guilmartin, the author of The Power of Pause: How to Be More Effective in a Demanding, 24/7 World, says this tendency to hold our breath deprives the brain of oxygen and causes us to react more emotionally than if we were breathing normally.
In a CNN Living article , Nance outlines five tips for how to respond appropriately, rather than react inappropriately, when emailing. These include giving people the benefit of the doubt and walking away from the computer for a few minutes.
Perhaps most important, if we want to avoid nasty fallout from hasty emails, is to practise breathing when working at the computer. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.