Well-being in the Workplace
At work, as in all facets of life, we often use ourselves unconsciously and habitually. We don’t know that the tension and tiredness we feel at the end of a day is influenced by the way we sit, stand, move, and handle ourselves. How we respond to technology often puts us into uncomfortable positions to focus, with eyes staring and necks craning, often sitting too long in a fixed position. We disconnect from our bodies to concentrate on the job at hand, and may only become aware that something is wrong when we feel discomfort or pain; such as with tight shoulders, stiff necks, headaches, sore backs, and tired eyes.
Discomfort, pain, and injury in the workplace lessens our enjoyment of what we are doing, depletes our reserves, and increases stress. All too familiar outcomes from sitting and working at the computer for long periods include: mental fatigue, repetitive strain injury (RSI), carpal tunnel syndrome, shortened and twisted spines that put pressure on the intervertebral disks and cause back pain, compressed rib cages that constrict breathing, slowed circulation and metabolism, inactive muscles that reduce tone, contracted muscles that hold unnecessary tension, and rigid joints. This has an accumulative effect on our thinking ability and, therefore, on how efficient we are and what we are able to accomplish effectively.
We would do it differently if we knew how to! The Alexander Technique introduces a new way of being in yourself, enabling you to recognise what is working against you and providing ways to stop doing what is perpetuating the negative cycle. You can make responsible choices for healthy self-management. You can experience vitality, clarity, and a sense of control at work.
- Alexander Technique: Training for the self-management of workers to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, Mora i Griso, Mireia. Foment del Treball Nacional de Catalunya (2011). This is a descriptive and comparative study of precedents where the Alexander Technique has been applied as a tool to prevent occupational risks in different organisational settings throughout the world. Read the report in English here.
- Effects of Alexander Technique on Muscle Activation During a Computer-Mouse Task: Potential for Reduction in Repetitive Strain Injuries, Shafarman E, Geisler MW, American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada (2003). In a preliminary study of computer mouse use, subjects without Alexander Technique training could reduce muscle activation only by slowing down, whereas subjects with Alexander Technique experience were able to reduce muscle activation while continuing to move rapidly. Implications for prevention of repetitive strain injury are discussed.