How your eyes can help your anxiety

Ever had someone cut you up whilst driving without you seeing them going past?

You may not have noticed what your eyes did as after they cut you up, but you probably remember how it felt.

  • Sudden raised heart rate.

  • Heavier breathing.

  • Quick scanning for the reason.

Once you found the reason for why your body did this, you quickly relaxed back down (and probably swearing at the driver).

So what happened to your eyes during this?

Once the body became aware of the potential threat your eyes went in to foveal vision. This is when your vision is central focused. When your eyes go into foveal vision it sends messages to the brain to be on alter. This can cause the fight or flight feelings.

If the brain doesn't find a reason for being on alter (fight or flight) then it can cause a feedback loop making the person look even more - this causes the brain to give more messages of alter, which can result in a anxiety or panic attack.

Basically these are a set of pre-programmed commands that are triggered by the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind stores billions bits of information which are associated with physical and emotional memories from throughout our lives.

The unconscious mind runs on a basic premise of running pre-programmed commands based upon what it think is right - whether it is positive or negative. These programmes run a set of emotions attributed to the programmes - happy, anger, joy, nervous, excited, scared and so on.

In the example of being cut up by a car whilst driving you quickly notice the cause of the alter and your eyes return back to a peripheral vision. This state sends messages to the brain of everything this safe. This allows the brain to relax and go back to a normal state.

So, how can your eyes help with your anxiety?

It is as simple as relaxing your eyes from foveal (central focused) back to peripheral vision where you can see all around. You vision will become softer and will allow you to notice colour and movement around you, whilst sending safe messages to the brain and calming it down.


Hakalau is a Hawaiian word and form of meditation that creates a state of negative emotions and you have complete awareness. This technique is used in the NLP world to help people relax and to get into a learning state.

  1. While facing straight ahead, pick a spot on the wall to look at.  Preferably the spot will be above eye level so that your field of vision seems to rest up against your eyebrows, leaving you with full vision.

  2. As you stare at this spot just let your thoughts come and go, and focus all your attention on this spot.

  3. Notice as you stare at the spot that within a few minutes your vision begins to spread out.  Allow it to continue to do that. You begin to see more in your peripheral than you do in the central part of your vision.

  4. Now, pay attention to the peripheral. Pay more attention to the peripheral than to the central part of your vision.

  5. If you are looking at a wall, begin to notice that you can see the corners of the room, the ceiling and the floor, all without moving your eyes.

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