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 Healthy Computing: Grounding Stretch 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by . View all columns in series
As we work at the computer we often sit without much movement. The more we sit immobilized the more it feels as if our energy drains out of us and negative thoughts and emotions surface more quickly. On the other hand our energy and positive thoughts increase when we sit up or perform a GROUNDING STRETCH.*


Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms hanging freely at your sides (if you are wearing high heels, take them off). Feel how your feet are standing on the floor. After observing and describing the sensations of how your feet are in contract with the floor (e.g., the weight is mainly on the ball of my feet, I feel my shoes holding my toes, there is more weight on my left foot than my right), do the following:

  • Bend your knees about 20 to 30 degrees while you keep standing upright and gently shift all your weight to your right leg. Keep all your weight on your flexed right leg and use your left leg for balance. Stand for two or more minutes as you breathe slowly and then, gently straighten your legs and shift your weight to both legs. You may observe that you leg is quivering this is very normal.
  • Bend your knees about 20 to 30 degrees while you keep standing upright and gently shift all your weight to your left leg. Keep all your weight on your flexed left leg and use your right leg for balance. Stand for two or more minutes breathing slowly and then, gently straighten your legs and shift your weight to both legs. Again, you may observe that you leg is quiveringthis is very normal.
  • Observe and describe how your feet are in contact with the floor (e.g., my legs feel heavier, a sense of streaming through my legs and my feet are deeper into the floor).
  • Now imagine the floor coming up to your feet and observe how your sensations of heaviness may change.
  • Now gently stamp your right foot down, so that the foot makes contact with the floor (almost like a child who is stubborn). Repeat 5 times. Then stamp your left foot down five times. Observe and describe what you experience. (Most people will report that as they stamp their feet, their bodies lengthenIn fact, the lengthening actually occurs because of the reflex that is triggered when the foot stamps against a surface).
  • Notice the energizing and lengthening sensations. Continue to be aware of them as you sit down and continue the computer work.

*For more information see: Wilson, V. & Peper, E. (2003). The effects of upright and slumped postures on the generation of positive and negative thoughts. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Wheat Ridge, CO: AAPB.

#Adapted from the presentation by Merete Holm Brantbjerg, Taking caring of yourself as you interact with others: A bodynamic lecture.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holders

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 About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco......moreErik Peper PhD
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