Eyes: The window to your... brain!
Your eyes are directly connected to your brain by your optic nerve and the health of your eyes reflects the health of your brain. As part of your essential survival mechanism, they're also wired to your relaxation/stress response. Stress cause eye tension and a focused, but narrow vision. By relaxing your eyes and the surrounding muscles, you can lower stress hormones. A relaxed gaze gives you space to respond to whatever life presents to you calmly and with ease and an open mind. When you're out and about this week, notice if your eyes have become tense and take a moment to consciously relax them.
As part of this hard-wired survival mechanism, we can tell if someone has their eyes focused on us us even from a distance away. You can often tell if someone is looking at you from behind. What I find really surprising is that you can tell if someone is looking at you when your eyes are closed too. I have to concentrate to keep my own gaze relaxed during breathing practices in class because if I look at you I'll interrupt your practice!
If you spend a long time using a computer, tablet or on your phone then your eyes are stuck on a single focus setting. It's a bit like sitting in a chair all day and not getting up to stretch. The muscles around your eyes lose some of their range of movement and so some of their ability to focus at different distances. Remember to rest your eyes regularly and give your eye muscles a (very gentle) stretch to their full range of movement.
Eye muscle workout
Keep your eyes relax and remember to blink regularly.
Keep your head still and just use your eyes:
Look to the left
Look to the right
Take your eyes around in a circle twice one way, then twice the other way
Focus on the tip of your of your nose
Focus on the index finger of your outstretched arm
Focus as far as you can see
Reverse each step back to the tip of your nose
Relax your eyes
To relax, consciously soften your eye muscles and broaden your gaze so you can be aware of what's either side of you without moving your eyes. How much detail can you notice?
Focus on the horizon or as far away as you can see to rest your eyes
Rub your hands together until they're warm, then rest your palms over your eyes to bathe them in the warmth. You can softly hum for a few moments for a sonic massage from the inside too.