Relax your eyeballs! Yep, that’s right, you can actually relax your eyes by relaxing all the muscles around your eyes. And it’s way more relaxing then you think. Try it – breathe in, as you exhale, relax your eyes. Inhale, as you exhale relax your eyes even more. Do this about five more times. Yes even look away from the screen while you do it….
And we’re back. Feel better? YES! There’s a reason for it.
Relaxing the muscles in your face and eyes actives the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest/digest nervous system. We have two nervous systems – the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest). Most of the time in our active “busy” lives we can tend to get in the habit of staying in the fight and flight side-o-things, moving from one thing to the next without even remembering whether you ate lunch or not. This can create additional stress… NO GOOD.
Staring at a computer screen for a long period of time causes our faces to become tense and we don’t even know it – also NO GOOD.
Think of it also like an energy conservation measure, yep this concept is going green. Micro to macro. Why use excess energy in those facial muscles that isn’t necessary. If you are needlessly using that energy, then it means you are needing to take in more energy to fuel that habitual furrowed brow. It’s wasteful if you want to look at it that way. Look, we all do it, this is no finger-shaking situation. It’s increasing our awareness of this tendency we have, and seeing if we can be a little nicer to ourselves in the process. Cause face it, you deserve it.
So, to help remedy that manic mindset – if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, pause, relax your forehead, cheeks, tongue, temples, eyeballs, yes eyeballs – and breathe. When you think you’ve relaxed your eyes, take another breath and relax them even more. It’s like we have these layers of stress to get through in order to relax. Peeling them away with each breath allows you to relax even deeper and calm the mind a little more.
When practicing yoga and I’m in a pose that feels strenuous, if I relax my face I’m generally able to find a lot more ease in the pose. It helps to find a balance between strength and flexibility.
No matter what you’re doing, on or off the mat, just check in with your eyes and see if relaxing them helps to relieve any little bit of stress that doesn’t need to be there. In the process you’re cultivating a more relaxed outlook and a calmer mind – and that mental space can better serve you in getting through whatever stressors you encounter along the way.