Do you get anxious about the future or stressed out when things don’t go the way you expected? We all do. Read on to learn a simple and effective trick to help you get out of your head and release stress or anxiety. This technique comes from the Hawaiian tradition of Hukalaue. You may have seen Hawaiian wiggling their fingers near their face. This is in fact, a part of this stress reduction technique.
There are two parts to this technique. The first is that you make sure your eyes are above the horizontal and you’re gazing up as high as you can. This changes your body’s physiology to help you feel less stressed. When our eyes are gazing up high, it activates the visual part of our brain and reduces the stimulation of our kinesthetic system. This means we’re reducing the awareness of sensations in our body leading us to feel less stressed.
The second is that you transition from foveal vision (which is focusing on the central part of your vision, concentrating on one point or object) to peripheral vision. Try to see and wrap your attention around the sides of your head. You can help yourself by wiggling your fingers on both sides of your head and testing how far back you can take your hands while still keeping them in your peripheral vision. Peripheral vision gets rid of the intense feelings induced when you focus hard on one particular point or object and opens you up to the rest of your senses. It can take away your awareness from the thing that is causing you stress and allow you to gain a more distant perspective.
If you combine both these techniques, you will find that you can’t help but go into a more relaxed state of mind. If you want instantaneous relief from stress, give this a try. I’ve worked with a lot of students right before their exams who’ve really benefitted from this technique.
Moreover, if you want this relaxed state of mind to last longer, stay in it for a few moments in silence. Then try to go back into the problem that was causing you stress and once you feel the stress coming back in, practice this technique again. Doing this repeatedly will not just get rid of your stress but also the unconscious association that is causing your stress. This will put you into a long lasting state of calm, making sure you react with less stress the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. You will soon discover that it’s almost impossible to feel stress and anxiety while your eyes are gazing up high and are focused on the periphery.
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