We live in a world that begs we keep our heads held in a downward position. Our phones, our esteem, our “news”, our fears, our desks, and even our prayers – all of these things either encourage or ask us to lower our gaze and our heads. This results in many of us going through our days keeping our necks held in flexion or worse; literally just hanging our heads forward as if they were tethered to our spines.
The point is we weren’t meant to walk around or sit around with our gaze and heads always held down. We actually have a righting reflex that prefers the default of our gaze and head to be held level with the horizon.
Sure, we can look and turn our heads anywhere we want to, or we should be able to, but the gaze and head should often be “reset” by returning to and revolving around the horizon. After all, every muscle in our body is connected to our head position and how we move our head. Gaze and head position actually help to keep the body strong and the brain healthy.
We simply were not meant to go through life with our heads held down. But again, in our current world “head on the horizon” seems to be a diminishing sight. The heads of kids with tablets and phones look like dangling tether balls. People walking down the street often walk looking down at their phones, or they hold their heads down in an effort not to make eye contact with a passing person. And then, there seems to be so much bad news and sad news (you don’t really have to look for it), it’s hard for many to keep their heads up.
Whether we hold our heads down because our gaze is down, or we hold our heads down because our emotions are down, it doesn’t matter. A life spent this way is not the way we are to be. Perpetually living with our heads held down has a tremendous effect. It alters our posture, our ability to move well, our ability to express strength, our emotions, and our thought processes. Keeping our heads held down is like submitting to nearly everything we really don’t want in life; fear, weakness, depression, anxiety, aches, pains, etc…
But keeping our heads where they belong, or moving our heads often as we were designed rather, is like rising up and engaging in life to experience all the things we do want; strength, joy, laughter, peace, fluidity, mobility, and freedom. By the way, the reason most of us want to experience these things is because we were meant to have them. This “secret” is hidden in our design.
Follow the design: Movement keeps the body strong and the mind agile. Movement helps the body heal and it nourishes the body’s tissues. Movement greatly influences the emotions. Movement is the vehicle that helps us enjoy our bodies, our relationships, our jobs, our actions, and our thoughts. That is our design. Our design says “move and become.” When we move as we were intended, our potential and possibilities abound.
Conversely, when we don’t, or when we hold ourselves in ways we were not meant to stay in, our potential and possibilities become severely limited. Everything matters, right?
The point is, become aware of your design and how you engage in it. Take note of your habits and how you hold your head. Do you keep in held down more than any other position? Do you spend most of your time with your gaze and head often returning to the horizon? Do you deliberately perform head nods and head rotations if your lifestyle (vocation) demands you keep your head held down or in a certain position?
I know it seems wild, but there is a chance you can restore your body, your emotions, your mental abilities and maybe even your relationships by keeping your head up on the horizon; you know, where it belongs. Because it is there, on the horizon, where you can see real people, real scenery, real beauty, real opportunities, and real events. It is there that your body is strong and there where you have the most genuine chance to interpret the heart, mind, and intentions of the person in front of you.
To wrap it up and drive this home, here are some simple things you can do to have the life you really want:
Move your head – because you were made to.
Do head nods and head rotations – they really do restore your body.
Keep your head up – you were meant to enjoy life and you should probably see it coming.
Put your phone away at the dinner table and look up and into the eyes of those you are with. Engage in them. Make eye contact and smile – that feels good and heals more than you know.
Oh, the title of this article is “When Head Nods Don’t Work.” Do you know when they don’t work? Ok, I’ll tell you.
Head nods don’t work when you don’t do them.
Just like making eye contact and smiling doesn’t work when you don’t do them either. 😉