How often do you look into the distance?
How often do you take your eyes off a screen?
What do you watch when you travel on a bus or by train?
From time to time it is necessary to take our eyes for a walk. 👀👣
See the picture above? You see space, trees, sky and clouds. The boundlessness that does not stop your eyes at any point, at any event or thing?
You look into the distance and your face, eyes, neck relax. A light wave of relaxation takes you away from thoughts about work, things to do, duties the need to be fulfilled. The eyes calmly sweep the space, and the stress dissolves with it. It is natural for the mind to let go of its focus and tension when you look into the distance. Attention travels flexibly around places where there is no point of arrival. There is no goal or end. You are where you are. And there is the freedom to be in it.
How a change happens in you when you look at a picture like this? There is nothing of a mystery about it. There is a scientific explanation.
We have two types of vision: central and peripheral.
This central one allows us to focus on reading, working on the computer, playing the piano or crocheting. However, by focusing on such activities for a long time, there is tension.
This is due to the operation of the autonomic nervous system, which is independent of our will and regulates a number of processes in our body. It influences the heart rate, the condition of the pupil and breathing rate, peristalsis in the gastrointestinal tract. There are two subsystems within this system – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic system. They have opposite effects and adjust the state of the human body to the current needs.
Central vision, related to reading or working on the computer, stimulates the sympathetic system that is responsible for being active, taking action (i.e. “fight” or “flight” reactions). Activating it for too long leads to tension and stress.
Peripheral vision, which allows you to see everything around us simultaneously, is related to activities in space and in motion, for example, walking or cycling. Peripheral vision stimulates the parasympathetic system which is responsible for calming down, feeling safe, and being aware of the surroundings.
You surely know this immediate feeling when leaving the office, or a house and the tension is released. Your relaxation is then a natural reaction of the nervous system.
Fascinating, isn’t it? But it is not everything. The important thing is that we have the ability to switch between these two modes of visual processing.
Knowing this, you can consciously manage your states of tension and calmness, regulate stress, and affect your sense of security in a very simple way. All you have to do is look into space, go for a walk, or at least look at the photo.
All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2018-2021 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved
About the author: Dorota Raniszewska – certified professional coach, EMCC Coach and Mentor – Senior Practitioner, accredited coach Izba Coachingu, certified trainer, author of the book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey”.