Could This Tool Double Your Energy When You’re On The Computer?

Inspirational image from Stillness Buddy

A refreshing image from Stillness Buddy

For someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia,  a computer can be an exciting and informative window to the outside world that allows you to transcend your physical limitations.

From your home, even lying on your bed, you can connect with friends and family via Skype or Facebook and find out everything you need to know about recovering from CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia. Speaking for myself, a morning on Skype with my family in Germany is often more fulfilling than hanging out in person with a bunch of friends at a bar here in Davis.

At the same time, computers can suck the life out of us. We have only so much energy in one day and that energy might be drained after 10, 30, or 90 minutes in front of a screen.

One problem is that even when we realize that we’re tired it’s hard to take a break because we are so captivated by the wonders of the world that we can access through our laptop.  Yet we need to take a timeout, or else we might burn ourselves out for the rest of the day or even the week.

Stillness buddy can help you benefit from your computer without getting trapped by it.

How Stillness Buddy Works

Stillness Buddy is a piece of software that runs in the background of your computer. Every thirty minutes or however often you indicate in your preferences, it will ask you to take a thirty second pause to check in with yourself and become aware of your body. During the pause it will block your screen to help you let go of what you were doing and display a positive, healing message to help you be in a more relaxed and healing state of mind. It will help you increase your awareness of when it’s time to take a deep, slow breath in or when it’s time to take a longer break from your computer.

A screenshot of Stillness Buddy in action.

A screenshot of Stillness Buddy inviting you to take a mindfulness pause

Why It Works.

Stillness Buddy works because it is based on the principles of pacing and mindfulness.

These two practices are widely acknowledged to improve conditions such as ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. The Wikipedia article on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome states, “[T]wo large surveys of patients indicated that pacing is the most helpful intervention, or is considered useful by 96% of participants.”

In a nutshell, pacing, the first underlying principle of Stillness Buddy, means to not spend more energy than we have and to take breaks when we need them. Along the same lines, mindfulness helps you to stay calm and centered and thus make the most of the energy you have any given day. If you think of yourself as a car, pacing would be your fuel stops and mindfulness some awesome technology that increases your gas mileage.

Want to Get Started?

To get started with Stillness Buddy, follow the five simple steps below, and you’ll be off and running (or in this case on your way to being tranquil and relaxed) in less than five minutes.

  1. Go to stillnessbuddy.com to download your free two-week trial.
  2. Choose your version of Stillness Buddy. Stillness Buddy comes in several flavors which are distinct in what messages and pictures they show during the mindfulness breaks. During my thirty second breaks, Stillness Buddy displays quotes and exercises from my favorite meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh; other versions include instructions on stretching and relaxation exercises.
  3. Follow the download and installation instructions.
  4. (Optional) After the installation, you can customize your experience using the preferences of the program if you like. The preset settings are awesome too though.
  5. Try Stillness Buddy for two weeks and see what you think. After the two-week trial is over, you’ll want to buy the full version for about $18.00 if you’ve become buddies with your new buddy and want his continued support.

What helps you stay energized when you are using your computer? Leave a comment under this post to share your experience. Please also do ask any questions you may have; I’ll be sure to answer.

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© Johannes Starke 2012

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Comments

  1. Hi Johannes, this is great! I’ve always wondered if there is software out there like this.

    I might combine Stillness Buddy with my current mindfulness practice. I set a timer in another room which goes off every 15 minutes. I get up from my computer and walk a few steps to the timer to reset it. I find getting up from my computer (no matter how tired I feel) actually rejuvenates me. My chiro is happy that I’m not seated for long periods of time either.

    Pacing myself has been a big (well, HUGE) part of my recovery from CFS. I’m glad to read those stats too!

    • Thanks for your comment, Erin, and I’m glad you learned something new. Your setting your timer in another room so that you have to get up every 15 minutes sounds radical–I like it! It can’t be good for my back to sit at my desk for as long periods of time as I currently do, so I’ll give your method a try, too.

    • Hey Erin, how well are you doing now? I think of pacing as a kind of really large term that can involve alot including slowing down how active ones mind is – and entering into…….stillness!

      I’m really surprised at how important it is.

  2. Hi Johannes,
    a very helpful article and I like the look of your website. Keep up the good work!
    For me an important thing to learn was to prioritize and not to get caught up in reading everything in my inbox every day. I now am much better in assessing how much time I want to spend on the computer and to just delete messages wthout reading then (newsletters, notifications about webinars etc.) I used to get into overwhelm getting the feeling that I want to know everything that could be helpful in managing/overcoming my ME. The fact that I read your newsletter shows that I have an interest in and value what you have to say.
    All the best, Bettina

    • Great to hear from you, Bettina. With all the emails that arrive in your inbox every day, I feel honored that you give my newsletter some space in there :)
      I think you’re right on with limiting the amount of information you take in each day. In my experience, information by itself has limited value; the value comes in when we integrate the new insights we gained and techniques we learned into our lives. Taking my blog as an example: I’d rather read only one blog post and take action on the step-by-step instructions than reading all of them and not taking any action.

  3. Jeez what a nice site Johannes…I’m jealous.

    For 30 years I’ve thought this kind of frenzied pattern of thinking really didn’t matter…Now I really think it does…I am finding that stillness can play a major role in rejuvenating oneself and getting better.

    Thanks for the providing a new tool for wellness :)

    • Hi Cort,

      Are you the Cort, the Cort Johnson who founded Phoenix Rising? You’ve been one of the heroes of my CFS recovery with your inspiring and helpful reporting on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You’re also the one who, through blogging about it on Phoenix Rising, made me initially aware of the Amygdala Retraining Programme, which marked the beginning of my recovery journey.

      What an honor to have you visit my site! I’m glad to hear that you like it :)

      • Hi there. Wanna say thanks for all the posts u made. Actually i am in hodlaiy and read some of your post by my smartphone. The think is that the most blogs are not good enough to display on an smartphone, but your blog I will come back for sure, if i arrived home. Thanks

  4. I’m not comfortable giving anyone else the ability to check into and block my computer for any period of time. That also isn’t a way I would want to spend my limited resources. I use a timer, but t having a timer has not always worked for me.

    Having a continuous alarm go off in another room is an even better idea, because sometimes I wouldn’t leave the computer at my 30 minute allotment, nor even stand up and stretch.

    An alarm in another room that needs attending to is a very useful extra to make changing positions and movement mandatory.. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dear Suella,

      Thank you for sharing what works for you in getting yourself to take a break from the computer and move around!

      Just to clarify, it’s actually a piece of software that blocks your computer for you. The software has been tested and is secure, so there is no risk of someone hijacking your computer.

      I like your way of getting yourself to take a break too though! It’s definitely more powerful in getting ourselves out of our chairs and moving.

      Johannes

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