NEOLOGISMS: ‘newly coined words or phrases frequently used by members of society, yet still in the process of entering common use in mainstream language.’
What we love about this is the fact that the term neologism is an irony – being a word that just so happens to be the most obvious example of the very definition used to describe it!
It seems many words these days are either being lumped together to create a hybrid version (think Brangelina & Kimye…) or spiced up a bit with an extra ‘ism,’ ‘ist’ or ‘syndrome’ tacked to the end. In light of the progressive nature of language, slang, and its relevance to building lasting social constructs we have decided to embark on a 5 week journey unpacking a series of newly discovered words cropping up in common conversations today – and perhaps articulate those specific qualms you always find yourself lamenting over without even being aware there was an offical name for…
NEOLOGISM NUMBER ONE –
A close cousin of sleep apnea, this odd condition occurs during waking hours, wrecking havoc on the breathing patterns of the everyday man and woman. Modern life and incessant technology use have indeed brought a fair few challenges to the fore, and screen apnea is the newest piece of the puzzle in our world of hyper-connectivity.
Have you ever been voraciously texting, only to complete the task and suddenly find yourself dizzy and gasping for a breath of air? This is screen apnea: the vicious cycle of chronic stress induced by prolonged screen time.
While it seems logical that this strange breath holding habit should only occur when you are typing out a message of considerable importance and emotional demand, experts say postural awareness is actually the major contributing factor causing obstruction to breath pathways, resulting in habitual breath holding or rapid, shallow, thoracic breathing – which also has it’s own word: tachypnea!
This type of breathing triggers the amygdala, which is the part of your brain responsible for emotional response, survival instincts, and memory. When the amygdala is called to respond to a perceived stressor it instructs the rest of your body to panic, resulting in what is commonly known as the fight or flight response. While to your rational mind you may know full well that your life is not in danger as you type out that long work email, your breathing pattern is busy telling your brain otherwise.
Think of how you feel after a yoga class, or a long walk in nature. This is your body breathing naturally, with your attention gently focused on the function of the diaphragm as it rises and falls to assist your muscles as they carry out the series of mindful movements. Becoming more aware of our body and its myriad of daily sensations, putting aside the emotional storylines our mind likes to attach to them, we can improve our aptitude for self regulation. In doing so, we more easily catch ourselves out when we fall into mindless functions and can then bring awareness to them, and rewrite the roadmaps our brains refer to when caught in sudden stress. Resulting in healthier minds, better focus and productivity, and all round sound health.
As it was said in an article published in one of our past issues: when it comes to our screens we must remember we own them, they don’t own us (and in this case, our breath.)
Ps, have a read of a creativity rousing interview with the artist behind this week’s feature image (top), Ana Dominguez here if you want to take this weeks reading a little further!
Top image: Ana Dominguez
Bottom image: Fabrice Hyber