Move Your Eyes
Mar 12, 2023
The body is simply amazing. It is designed to move, and movement is the vehicle that builds the health of our brain, nervous system, and, ultimately, our bodies. It’s kind of like an infinite feedback loop: Movement builds an efficient and healthy nervous system, and an efficient, healthy nervous system allows you to move better. The better you move, the more health you can add to your nervous system. The more health your nervous system has, the better you can move. And round and round we go. The design enhances the design. That’s brilliant!
We are made to move, and every joint and muscle we have been given is intended to be an instrument of the movement intended to keep us healthy. This means if it can move, it should be moved. Because it matters.
It matters that we move our moving parts. When we do, we provide our brain with “nutrient-rich” information that not only lets the brain know everything is in good working order but also lets the brain know that we are safe. When the brain deems us safe, it lets us move very well, and we typically feel really good in our own skin.
But when we don’t move all our moving parts, we create a hole in the information. That is, the information the brain is looking for is missing. When there is missing information, the brain makes judgment calls on both our safety and whether or not we need the area that is not moving. If the brain feels unsafe, it will limit how well we can move and express ourselves. If the brain deems we don’t need an area of movement anymore, it will prune away that area's resources to give us what it thinks we need. You’ve heard this a thousand times: use it or lose it. Ponder this, if you prune something away that you are supposed to have if you lose something you actually need, how safe do you think the brain will feel moving forward?
All of this is to say that we should move our moving parts. It’s essential for optimizing our design and our health. One of those essential moving parts that we don’t always think about is our eyes. Not only are our eyes made to move, but they are actually the drivers of our movement. At least, they should be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAQ8JfrlqHg
Your body is made to follow your head, and your head is wired to follow your eyes. This means your eyes are drivers for how your body is designed to move. If your eyes go into flexion, your body can more easily go into flexion. If your eyes go into extension, your body can more easily open up into extension. If your eyes maintain a level gaze, your body can more easily stay balanced and steady. I’m only scratching the surface here, but just know that your eye's ability to move provides important information to the brain and, thus, the entire body.
Our eyes can move in so many ways. They can go up, down, left, right, circles, in, out, and everywhere. They can focus near, they can focus far (focus is movement). When we don’t move our eyes, when we fix them on a screen, a book, or even inside eyeglass frames, we are “leaving a lot of movement on the table.” If we limit how our eyes move, we are limiting the design of our bodies.
Make it a deliberate practice of using and moving your eyes. Explore their full range of motion. Learn their limits, learn how smoothly they can move. If you wear glasses, move them beyond your frames. Focus them near. Focus them far. Don’t weaken them by not using them. Allow your brain to feel safe and take the breaks off your body. Use your eyes and enhance your design.
Your eyes are not just the windows to your soul. They are also the navigators of your outside world and the experiences you have in it. Their movement matter.