the amazing disappearing body act

Please follow these steps carefully.

1. Close your eyes.

Wait, this is not going to work. Too bad you can’t read with your eyes closed. What I’d like to draw your attention to today is a phenomenon I call the amazing disappearing body act.

I consider myself someone who is very aware of my body. I work with bodies, so it comes with the territory. But, as I work I am constantly aware of my own body and I strategize how I can be as comfortable as possible while I work. I lean over a lot in my line of work. This necessitates all sorts of posture accommodations as I support the big head I’ve been blessed with. A trick we used in massage school comes in handy in my effort to maintain good posture and overall comfort. The trick is to close my eyes while I work. Taking visual input out of the equation allows me to check in with my body in a very helpful way. What I usually find is that my head is way out in front of my body and my shoulders are hunched forward. Why I’m less aware of these dynamics when I’m working with my eyes open remains a mystery. But regardless, closing my eyes, even briefly, can allow important bodily input to make its way to my brain.

So, here’s the translation for you (since I assume you’re not a massage therapist!). When you’re working away at your computer, pause and close your eyes. You should be able to immediately scan your body and find something that could be positioned differently to be more comfortable. Perhaps your shoulders are up by your ears. Perhaps your neck is screaming and you didn’t realize it. Perhaps your wrists are beginning to burn. When you eliminate the visual input, briefly, you can really pay attention to the body below your head – your amazing disappearing body.

When you close your eyes you might do one or more of the following:

  • shift your weight into a posture that feels more comfortable
  • take a deep breath
  • stretch a muscle that has been static for a while
  • contract and relax a major muscle group like your gluteals
  • move your eyes in a circle or two under your eyelids

Then open your eyes and resume your computer work. Voilà! Your body has re-appeared in your consciousness and you can better take care of it – congratulations! If you kept typing while your eyes were closed, please use spell-checker!


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