When teaching vision improvement I have the intriguing job of impressing upon students the need for enjoyment in their endeavour. Myopes like to do things perfectly and correctly at all times, so they often take some convincing that doing their vision activities with strict adherence to a schedule and a rigid style of compliance is not the process we are looking for.
The same applies to parents teaching their own children Natural Vision Improvement, where the parents are there to do a job (which is important and often emotionally laden for them). This style of working can quickly become boring, stressful and creates resistance in the child.
Why is fun important in vision improvement?
While doing vision activities regularly is important to ongoing eyesight improvement, how the games are done is almost more important than when they are done.
In Playcamps I teach the parents that the vision games will not be as effective as they can be unless the child (and parent) is enjoying themselves. One reason for this is because the entire purpose is to achieve not strength, but relaxation in the eye muscles and visual system. In myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, the eyes are not weak, they are tight. So you see that our attitude towards the child and vision games cannot be one of pressure, performance and strict regularity over enjoyment, or we achieve more stress and tension rather than less.
The same applies to adults, especially since grown-ups with these types of refractive error will almost always have developed it during childhood, and therefore are in fact still in some ways working with that child within. Or better yet….playing with that child within J.
Activate the ‘Right Brain’.
Many people have become familiar with the discovery that our human brain has two high-functioning hemispheres, each responsible for opposite and complimentary abilities. It has become common knowledge that each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. But there are many more qualities divided into these two sides of our brain.
Left and Right Brain qualities in pictures.*
The left hemisphere is our logical, thinking, language and numbers brain, aware of time, in charge of the small details, close vision and activating action in our muscles.
The left-brain seems to be the popular one these days, with lots of status given to its abilities and functions. Yet using mostly only one side gives us an unbalanced life that becomes a strain and burden to sustain over time. It also limits our physical, mental and emotional abilities and our opportunities to enjoy life to the full.
When you look at a list of brain hemisphere qualities (see below), it is easy to see how living mostly in one side or the other can affect our visual function as well as personality and behaviour!
Most myopes and presbyopes (over-40s reading blur) have left-brain action in plenty yet are not as strong in using their right brain as they may have been when young. Hyperopes are the opposite, and may find they want a bit more left-brain action in their lives.
When we need to relax our muscles, to let go of tension in our mind and hearts and bodies, to balance the driven and sometimes stress laden lifestyle of being predominantly in the left brain, we need to bring the right hemisphere and its abilities into action.
Left and right brain qualities in words.
The right-brain is where the messages regarding muscle relaxation come from, the balancing action of the left-brain’s activation of muscle tension. It is also in charge of distance vision, making the activation of the right-brain very important in the goal of regaining good far eyesight.
To activate the right-brain we do the Cross-Crawl activity, a whole body movement that brings in both sides of the brain. We also make use of the other qualities of the right-brain that we can intentionally choose, helping to ‘turn-on’ that side of the brain, and making all its features more available.
These qualities include; deep breathing, images rather than words, the timelessness of a relaxed meditative state, music, whole body movement, the childlike sense of wonder at the amazingness of everything, rather than the precise focus on the minutiae of daily life. When we give our attention to these things more often in general and specifically when doing vision
games, it helps us to relax and achieve the state of seeing rather than staring that we are ‘looking’ for.
Deep breathing (all the way down to the belly)
activates the right side of the brain, helping us relax.
When improving vision we also want to let go of old stressful habits and learn good vision habits, in how we use our eyes all the time. Since long term memory is in the right brain along with whole body movement, music and visualizing, the most effective way to learn new habits that become effortless is to do it with our body, learn it with music and imagine ourselves doing it.
So to get the most benefit from vision games, whether as an adult or a child, we must find a way to enjoy ourselves and have fun with it. Use interesting toys, pleasant venues, and keep the programme flexible to the feeling of the day. When doing vision games for your child join in yourself with the games (your eyes will benefit too!) and show her that you can be silly and do funny things and so she can too.
For myopes one of the most effective self-awareness techniques and habit changes for good vision comes from letting go of the left-brain’s “Trying and straining to see“, and bringing in the right-brain’s “Letting everything come“. Do your best to use this principle each time you find yourself squinting, leaning forward and straining, and you may be surprised at how effective it is!
Remember from the last article that the more you do this, the more you train your brain to make it an effortless and ongoing new habit.
*Image from ‘Help Your Child to Perfect Eyesight Without Glasses’ by Janet Goodrich