Since our nervous and muscular systems are interconnected, we can influence our stress-level via the body. In the Alexander Technique, we often look at the way we are using our eyes. I invite you to get curious about how your visual focus affects your mood. Here are some things to try out.
- During a stressful situation, open your visual focus. We tend to narrow our mental and visual focus in stressful situations. Notice what you’re seeing and allow that to widen into include what’s on either side and above and below what you’re looking at. Allowing yourself to register your peripheral vision relaxes your body and your mind.
- While reading, notice the white space on the page. While noticing the white space, remember that what you’re seeing is processed in the visual cortex in the back of your brain. Also notice that what you’re reading and your eyes are part of a larger scene involving the room that you’re in and your whole body.
- While walking, notice whether you’re looking at eye level. It’svery common to develop a habit of looking down by bending in the neck. Looking at eye level helps your body remember just how tall you are and allows your spine to be lengthening as you walk. Remember that your peripheral vision can generally register what’s on the ground without your looking down. If you do want to look down, notice whether you’re doing so from a joint. The neck is actually not a joint -- the joint is between your skill and spine, and it is way up high behind your eyes.