In this final post of my series on how to improve productivity, project confidence and be more comfortable with your computer posture, I want to consider the role of attitude. In fact, the word attitude even means posture in some circumstances.
We each have our own computer attitude, both to our work on the computer, and toward the computer itself.
In part 9 of this series we saw how changing our thinking, our attitude in fact, about our work is helpful.
To take this idea further, today I want to specifically look at our attitude toward the computer itself, and how that can impact our posture and our entire being.
A couple of years ago I had something of an “aha” moment when I realized that part of my way of interacting with the computer was to very subtly put myself on guard against, or protect myself from, the poor posture that so often inflicts computer users.
As I’ve gone through this series, I hope it’s now clear that working at the computer itself is not typically the actual cause of neck strain, shoulder tension, headaches, or RSI, for instance. Rather, these are caused by the way we coordinate ourselves—and the amount of excess tension we bring to the task—as we work at the computer.
So, being even slightly “on guard” against slumping or straining can, paradoxically, lead to unwanted tension.
Using body intelligence and the principles of the Alexander Technique we can learn to use anything we interact with—other people, animals, and inanimate objects—to help us come back to ourselves, improving our overall posture and our connection with our self and others. Touching that object can enhance this further—it can act as a reminder and a stimulus to help us connect with our self, rather than the more usual disconnection where all our attention is focused on the object itself.
I decided to remember this as my fingers touched the keyboard, clicked the mouse, and as I looked at my screen. This amounted to a shift in attitude and a complete turnaround, along the lines of the work of Byron Katie, which goes something like this:
Original Attitude (and very common belief)
- Working at the computer is detrimental to my posture and causes excess tension.
Attitude Shift #1
- The way I work at the computer may, or may not, be detrimental to my posture and cause excess tension, depending on how I use myself while I work at the computer.
Attitude Shift #2 (Complete Turnaround)
- Working at the computer is good for my posture and helps me relieve tension!
At the time this was an epiphany!
It means that spending time at the computer can actually help you improve your posture and let go of tension!
Make Friends with Your Computer!
Instead of treating the computer as the enemy, you can CHOOSE to “make friends” with it!
Here are some steps I came up with to help you treat your computer like a good friend, and in so doing improve your posture and release tension:
1. Give Your Computer Some Space!
Don’t stare at your friend/computer intently for hours, neck strained and head jutting out. That would likely put anyone off – a real person would run a mile. Instead, give your friend/computer some personal space and you’ll interact with each other a lot more pleasantly.
2. Treat Your Computer Gently and with Respect!
Treat your friend/computer gently and with respect – just as you would like to be treated – including the way you type on the keyboard and click your mouse. Have patience if your friend/computer is not responding as quickly as you would like!
3. Take Breaks from Each Other!
Give your friend/computer a break occasionally. No matter how good friends you are with someone, everyone needs a short break now and again to help keep the relationship healthy. Use some of the ideas from last week’s post on constructive breaks, including getting up and moving around every so often, going outside for a walk, a trip to the gym, and of course, my personal favorite, Constructive Rest.
4. Set Reminders!
Accept help from your friend/computer. Your friend/computer will happily send you alerts, once you set them up, to remind you to take a break, for instance. Even a “micro-pause” will be helpful.
If you’ve been following each lesson in this series, you’ll have realized that a lot more is involved than just putting your body in a certain position – especially if what we’re after is a practical, moveable, maintainable open and expansive posture that engenders productivity, creativity, clarity of thinking, and confidence, not to mention comfort and ease. Our attitude, however unconscious or subtle, has a profound effect on this.
What happens if you think to yourself either of the following?
“Working at the computer helps my posture,”
“I relieve tension when I work at the computer.”
Are these ideas even believable to you? The catch is, if you can’t even entertain them as a possibility, they won’t be helpful.
If you can, however, while obviously not a panacea, allowing for these possibilities can only enhance the practical recommendations in the rest of this series.
So, please, make friends with your computer today!
Do you have any strongly held beliefs around using a computer or other devices? Do you think your attitude is helpful? If not, could you find a way turn it around?
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comment in the space below.
Image © sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo
Check out the other posts in this series:
- Part 1: Awareness
- Part 2: Balance
- Part 3: Don’t Lose Your Head!
- Part 4: Legs and Feet
- Part 5: Mouse Hand
- Part 6: Breathe!
- Part 7: Workstation Set-Up
- Part 8: Using Your Laptop
- Part 9: Stop and Think!
- Part 10: Pause!
- Part 11: Constructive Breaks