Week 2 | Regulate your autonomic nervous system

This week, you will:

  1. Use your visions and breathing to regulate the autonomic nervous system. 

When you are anxious, your nervous system is often hyper-aroused. The sympathetic nervous system becomes overly active. When that happens, you are mentally and physiologically in “tunnel vision” – you lack a bigger overview and are focusing mentally and physiologically on the very stressful trigger. You can get tight, anxious. Your breathing can become shallow.

When you zoom into a very small part of the picture, you lose perspective of the situation. The key is to learn to regulate the nervous system. This will help bring arousal levels down, so you can function better in a stressful situation. By influencing your Vision and Breathing deliberately to activate a relaxation response, you will form a function more adapted to your mind and body. 

Breathing and Vision are two functions we can voluntarily influence. We can up-regulate or down-regulate our nervous system and change our internal states with that.  

Peripheral vision/panoramic vision/soft gaze:  The ability to see objects and movement outside of the direct line of vision. It’s about paying attention to what’s happening at the edges – the periphery – of your  field of vision. Try it in an environment where things or people are moving – you’ll notice some differences from normal foveal vision. You may  become more aware of movement. At the edges of your vision, you may be less aware of colour and contrast distinctions.  

Soft gaze: With soft eyes, you let your eyes physically relax. Instead of focusing on one thing, you allow that thing to be at the center of your gaze, while simultaneously taking in the largest possible expanse within your full field of vision. This includes peripheral vision – left and right, and above and below. You are yourself. You are whole while having a global view of what’s around you.  

Foveal Vision: Tunnel vision with a narrow focus on one object. It is the vision of the center in the field of vision.  

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