Focus: Less is More Stress Tool # 31:August 28, 2012
Picture a 1950’s era home movie. Grainy footage shoot by a less than stable hand. You see a pair of smiling grandparents open their front door and step on to their small concrete porch.
First a boy, maybe six years old, walks up the steps and gets embraced by grandmother and then grandfather. A girl, younger by a few years, follows suit.
And then you see something move in a blur in front of the camera.
The second time you see the blur you realize it’s a third child, similar in age, but moving at 8.5 times the speed as her siblings. Eventually she makes her way back to her grandparents for her turn at hugs.
That blur was I.
Right now if you’d look over my shoulder at my computer you’d see I have five browser windows, four programs, and three word documents (and a partridge in a pear tree) open.
In other words focus has never been a strong suit of mine.
The Joys of Being Unfocused
I’ll admit that, at times, more focus would serve me. But I also know that not being focused has its place too. Many creative people find that dinking around with non-essential tasks calms and prepares them for their essential task.
Picture a writer organizing her desk or a coach chatting on the phone with a friend before getting down to the days tasks. It’s much like a warm up before hitting the gym.
Unfocused time allows for creativity, spontaneity, and rejuvenation.
As a non-focuser I’m delighted to know tidbits of info like this cool tool.
Focus Creates Stress
Physiologically you can see (no pun intended) that when hunting for dinner our Neanderthal relatives (and I don’t mean the ones you celebrate holidays with) would have to focus their eyes to spot and shoot their prey.
Now picture yourself sitting in front of your computer, texting, watching TV, reading… Lots of eye focus involved in your day too, right?
Try an experiment. Focus on a point and notice what happens to your breathing, to your muscles, especially in your head and neck. Now let your gaze go soft. Don’t focus on anything for a few breaths and notice the change.
When focused you probably noticed some tension around your eyes, maybe in your jaw, forehead, neck, chest, or shoulders. You also probably noticed that your breath became shallower.
And when you shifted to your peripheral vision you noticed a relaxation of muscles, a deepening of your breath, didn’t you?
Use this soft eyes technique on a regular basis during your day for a quick de-stressor and tension releaser.
Share your experience here.