It is good for body and mind, and it is a habit worth adopting. It turns out that even Rabbi Nachman of Breslav thought so – long before our heads started getting stuck in the phone screens
On the wall of a synagogue in Jaffa is written a question by Rabbi Nachman of Breslav: Have you looked at the sky today? “Rabbi Nachman asked this question long before our heads were stuck in the phone screens and we lost eye contact with the world,” says Elia Alon, who researches free alternative healing methods. In a conversation with Alon, she talks about “Look Up”, a project carried out in Australia to remind residents to lift their heads from their mobile phones. According to her, in order not to completely lose touch with reality, it is imperative to look up from the screen and look not only straight, but also at the sky.
This action improves a variety of things in our functioning without us even thinking about it. For example, the ability to stand up straight, breathe deeply and release the neck, shoulders and back. And there are also cognitive benefits, including renewing eye contact with the world, sharpening the senses and being able to discern what is happening around us – thus renewing our social connections, which have become rusty. Not to mention that you can also see nature, sky, trees, sea, and of course humans.
What did they do in Australia? Cover the streets with giant signs with the hashtag “Look Up” and get people intrigued and enter a site that incorporates all the explanations about the importance of this “screen break” and take an initiated pause.
“I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and today it’s already part of how I walk down the street,” says Alon. “Everyone knows how it affects me. A friend who does it with me says that she has never noticed that she lives in such a green environment.”
Alon would like to point out that despite the temptation, we should not just blame the mobile for our tendency to walk with our head on the ground. We go that way too to avoid obstacles, because we are preoccupied with reflections and thoughts, and just out of habit. The problem is that if we add to this the increase in remote work in front of a laptop caused by the corona – it adversely affects our physiological structure and causes neck and shoulder problems.
“When we tilt our neck toward the phone or computer screen, we change the position of the cervical vertebrae, and this creates a trailing effect along the entire back,” says Natalie Bartler, a certified physiotherapist. “When we look down over time, we change the whole natural position of all the vertebrae of the spine – from the neck to the lower back. The posture changes and loads are created in unnatural places. The effect can be posture damage, pain, decreased range of motion and impact on other joints. “For example, when you lower your head and look down, your shoulders also round forward, and the entire structure of the chest is affected and rounded, which causes changes in breathing.”
so what to do? Stretch, stand up straight, lift your head up, release your busy muscles, open your shoulders and chest, and slowly return the vertebrae to their proper shape.