No doubt the best way to prevent the dazed state that comes from staring at a monitor for hours is to get up every few minutes and remember you have a body. But for those of us who seem to have trouble remembering to do this, I’ve been experimenting with some herbal solutions.
First, the problem: computer monitors are a source of emitted (rather than reflected) light. Other sources of emitted light: television, lightbulbs, fires and stars (including the sun). Emitted light is mesmerizing. Think of sitting around a campfire in the dark. You can stare and stare and stare and forget where you are and what’s going on around you. Staring at emitted light for a long period of time can leave you spaced-out and disembodied.
So cutting through computer-fog means coming back to the physical world. The best “enlivening” remedy I know is prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) tincture. Two or three drops on my tongue wakes up my whole body. (Even a few drops will make your mouth tingle and start you salivating. Don’t worry, just swallow the spit. It’ll stop in a few minutes, and you won’t have to spend the rest of the day in a daze.) Bitter herbs are also a good optionâ€”a drop of hops (Humulus lupulus) tincture or a squirt of barberry (Berberis vulgaris) will bring you back to earth with a thump.
Really, though, getting up and stretching every few minutes is the best option. If only I could remember to do it.