Breathing brings motion into the body and breaks up the mental stare. When under stress, breathing becomes shorter and shallower. This is also true if you strain when seeing. Deep breathing increases the oxygen to the body, and oxygen relaxes the nervous system. Learning to take long, deep breaths relaxes your mind and creates a mental and physical environment beneficial to improving eyesight.
Goal – Relax your body and mind with deep breathing.
Steps – Throughout the day, pause, remove your glasses, and notice your breathing. Drop your shoulders, and let your hands and arms rest loosely at your side.
- Inhale slowly to a count of 5 and exhale to a count of 10. Release all thoughts as you exhale, and take in warm, clear sunlight as you inhale.
- Take about 5 of these deep breaths increasing the inhalations to the count of and the exhalations to the count of 15.
- Once you increase the length, take 5 more deep breaths.
Physical and mental tension from sitting in one position too long while you work, or from a poor home or work environment are all stored in your body as physical tension. These tension tend to collect in your neck, upper back, and the areas in your face around your eyes. You can relieve the tension by massaging the critical areas. Of course, there is nothing like a professional massage from a certified therapist, but you can provide relief for yourself at any time during the day by learning these simple techniques of self-massage.
Goal – Relax your body and mind with self-massage.
Steps – Find a comfortable sitting position and remove your glasses. Take a few deep breaths with long exhalations, drop your shoulders, relax your jaw muscles, and become aware of the floor your feet are resting on.
- Reach around with your right hand to your left neck and shoulder areas and massage the muscles. Do the same with the left hand on your right neck and shoulder areas
The next set of self-massage techniques are commonly used by school children in China.
- Massage the inside eyebrow corners with your thumbs, and use your other fingers slightly curled against your forehead to massage your forehead.
- Use your thumb and index finger to massage the bridge of your nose by pressing downward, then upward.
- Place your thumbs on your lower jaw and place your index and middle fingers against both sides of your nose near the nostrils. Use your index and middle finger to massage these areas. Lower your middle fingers and massage the same areas with your index fingers.
- With your fingers curled under and your thumbs on each side of your forehead, use the sides of the index fingers to run outward following the pattern 2-3-4-6-5.
Blinking keeps the eyes lubricated, clean, and moist; relieves pressure; and prevents the mind from going into a mental stare. It is very important to blink when working at a computer because the heat and light emitting from the monitor can dry your eyes and cause redness and irritation.
If your work requires long hours of concentration, you might go for long periods of time without blinking. When you stop blinking, your mind goes into a mental stare, and when your mind is in a mental stare, you stop blinking. It is easy to break the mental stare by getting into the habit of blinking frequently. People with normal vision blink frequently and irregularly.
If your eyes are dry, red, or irritated due to allergies, air conditioning, heating, or the heat and light emanating from your computer monitor, use eye drops for extra lubrication and blinking. There are many good over-the-counter lubricating eye drops on the market. Make sure you get one you can use as often as you like. Read the package to be sure there are no warnings that frequent use of the eye drops can cause eye irritation or redness.
Practice blinking whenever you can – waiting for a meeting to begin, waiting for a computer connection, while on hold on the phone, walking down the hallway, walking up stairs. If you find yourself in a mental stare with blurred vision, take some time out and blink rapidly for a few minutes.
Goal – Get into the habit of blinking.
Steps – Find a comfortable sitting position, relax, and remove your glasses.
Take a few deep breaths with long exhalations and drop your shoulders.
- • Count an irregular rhythm and blink whenever you count. For example, 1,2,3 4,5 6,7,8, 9, and so on.
- Blink rapidly for several minutes.
- Cover one eye with one hand and bring the other hand towards the open eye. Imagine a cushion of air is being pressed against the open eye by the hand. When your hand gets very close, let the air cushion push your eye closed. Pull your hand slowly back and allow the air cushion to suction the eye open. Repeat with the other eye.
Hints – Leave yourself a note on your monitor, on your desk, at home, and in your car to remind you to practice blinking.
Healthy Mind and Body
Vision problems can be made worse by poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and insufficient exercise. You need a healthy, well-rested mind and body on which to build the new habits of seeing you will learn in this book. Check your local health food store, book stores, and health clubs for information on eating properly, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
Always take a meal break during your work day. If you cannot leave your office, at least sit away from the desk or computer so you are not tempted to eat and work at the same time. The break will relax your mind, body, and eyes and promote better digestion. If you are stumped over a problem, the solution might come to you as you relax and take your mind away from the problem. Avoid snacking on junk food while you work. Keep healthy foods like apples, carrots, or crackers and cheese around if you must snack.
Avoid staying up late working. It can be hard to go to sleep or your sleep might not be restful. You should stop working early enough so you have a time to unwind and be with loved ones before going to sleep.
Aerobic exercise and/or weight training are important to combating the mental and physical tension that comes from sitting in one position for long periods of time. Try to incorporate regular physical activity into your life. Some large companies have fitness centers or provide access to public fitness centers and health clubs for a discount. Take advantage of this important benefit if possible.
If you do not like to exercise, get into the habit of moving your body more. For
example, you can move your legs while you sit, stretch your arms in the air
and arch your back, walk rather than drive, get an exercise machine to use at
home while on the phone or watching television, or use exercise videos.
Mental stress can result from environmental pressures (job, fast pace of life, deadlines, juggling work and family responsibilities), and mental control must be regained to handle the stress effectively. Try to identify stressful areas in your life and change them or your attitude towards them so they are less stressful. Learn to slow down, prioritize, and take things as they come.
For example, if you find you do not have enough time to accomplish everything causing you mental anguish, take a class in time management. If certain people aggravate you, take a course in handling difficult people or arrange your life so you do not encounter these people very often.