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Eyes Technique for Emotional Intelligence
Do you ever get stuck in a mental rut? Is there some state of mind that visits you occasionally and you have a hard time getting out of it? It might be sadness, melancholy, anxiety, depression, anger, or just plain feeling upset. Perhaps someone in your family or a friend tends to stay negative for a long time, and you would like to help them out. Not to worry, help is only a few glances away - literally! Here is a simple way to get unstuck.
Our eyes are often called "a window into the soul". Biologically, it is more appropriate to say that our eyes are the window into the brain. Directly linked to the gray matter by an optical nerve, the eyes do a lot of visual processing before electric impulses ever reach the brain. So it is not too surprising to discover that by shifting our eyes we can affect the way this processing happens.
From NLP, we know well that the direction of your glance is directly linked to how you are thinking at the moment (for more information about that look up NLP subfield called Eye Accessing Cues). In particular it turns out that the vast majority of people has to look down to connect to their emotions. This is especially true for negative emotions - one of the simplest ways to tell tears of sadness from tears of joy is by the posture - huddled, looking down is typical for sadness (think of pillow crying).
Looking down does not necessarily mean that you are connecting to your emotions. You can look down to step over a puddle or to button up your shirt. It is looking down when there is no other physical reason for it that is the emotional giveaway. But people also look down to engage in self talk. You can tell self talk apart from emotions by noticing where people look - left or right. A common generalization we can make is that looking down right is for self talk, and looking down left is for emotions. But absolutely the best way to tell them apart is by asking a few key questions, - a great topic for another article.
If you have to look down to feel emotions, then you will have a very hard time feeling emotions while looking up. So, if you are feeling bad and want to get unstuck, all you have to do is look up for a few minutes. If your partner or a friend is feeling bad, gently take their head and move it up, so that they are looking at the ceiling (or the sky). Or you can even be sly about it and point out the beautiful clouds or the stars. Your goal is to keep yourself (or them) focused on looking up for two minutes, and you'll see how quickly the bad mood evaporates.
Some people might resist you helping them move beyond their stuck state (those stuck states are pretty sticky), so explaining what you are doing will help. Keep in mind that once you let go of their head they might occasionally step back into the old stuck state, so you have to act quickly and refocus their attention on healing and solving the problem, rather then wallowing in it. Of course, there are dozens of NLP techniques to help you do just that easily and effectively.
For really heavy negative states, looking up for a few minutes might not substantially move the mind out the mental rut. For these times, there is an advanced version of this technique called Eye Rolls that rapidly activates a sequence of resourceful brain states thereby releasing the stuck state.
Start by rolling your eyes in a wide circle while keeping your head straight. First clockwise for two minutes, then counterclockwise for another two minutes. Then follow up with moving your eyes in a horizontal figure eight pattern (it's also the symbol for the infinity). As you do that make sure your eyes move up through the center of the figure and down the sides. Go in one direction for two minutes, then in the other direction for two minutes. Make sure you keep your head straight and move only your eyes. You might want to sit down beforehand in case you get dizzy.
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May You Be Happy!
- Arman Darini, Ph.D.
About the Author: Arman Darini, Ph.D. is the director of Holographic University, the author of weekly Tips for Creating an Extraordinary and Meaningful Life, and a certified international NLP Trainer. As the leader of a dynamic team of Life Trainers and Coaches, Arman's motto is "I don't believe in your limitations". To learn more about Arman, visit ArmanDarini.com