I remember having an AOL email account, logging on, and hearing the familiar male voice say, "You've got mail." My palms would get sweaty and my breathing would get quicker, thinking to myself, "I have mail! Who sent me mail? What could it be?" Usually it was just spam or junk mail and the let down would return my bodily functions back to normal. Little did I know that I was suffering from "email apnea." Yes, it is a real condition.
A study of 200 people was conducted by Linda Stone over a six to seven month period. About 80% of the people Stone studied suffered from this email condition. People with email apnea held their breath or interrupted their breathing patterns while they read their email. The study, which was featured in the Business Insider, talked about the relationship between breath-holding and vagus nerve. Stone said, "The vagus nerve is responsible for mediating the autonmic nervous system, which includes the 'fight or flight' and 'rest and digest' feelings." When people hold their breath while checking their email, it puts their body in 'fight or flight' mode, which causes your heart rate to increase and your liver to pour glucose and cholesterol into the bloodstream.
Since reading this article, I've noticed myself listening and paying attention to the way I breathe when I open my mail. I now challenge you to pay closer attention to your breathing patterns next time you check your email!