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The third self-regulation technique that I’m going to teach is called “softening the gaze” You may have heard the term “tunnel vision” So when we go into this fight flight freeze response or sympathetic response in our nervous system our Vision becomes very narrow and we’re not able to see the things in our periphery I’ve only Experienced this a couple times in my life, and one of them was when I was doing the lead certification at the climbing gym. So at a climbing gym there’s a couple different ways to climb and Lead climbing is where you you climb up from the bottom and clip into hardware as you go so you’re clipping into these bolts and the wall as you climb and if You fall right before a clip you’re going to you’re going to fall twice as far as your rope is out so if you’re five feet above your clip you’re going to fall [ten] feet and You’ll most likely be safe. I mean there’s a chance you’ll bang your knee or something you’re not going to die But it is a little bit scarier than top roping when you’re top roping if you fall you just the rope stretches a couple inches But there’s really no no big drop and it’s quite a bit less scary. But lead climbing is essential to do most of the cool routes out in the climbing world So lead climbing is important. And at the gym you have to certify. And when I was doing my lead climbing test a member of the the Gym staff had to come watch me So I’ve got someone watching me Doing something kind of scary and and I got freaked out and I started to get this tunnel vision where I couldn’t even see these handholds that were close to me. The harder I tried the more I gripped and then the more my muscles got tired the less I was able to see the holds. I couldn’t really think clearly and pretty soon I messed up and I fell and I didn’t pass my lead certification. So that’s tunnel vision. Your vision just gets narrower and narrower. You’re not really able to see other options. Now this is a natural fight flight freeze response and It probably has some function somewhere. But it’s certainly not helpful when we need to be calm and and see the big picture. And you’ll notice that the same thing happens in our minds when we’re stressed out We’re not able to look around and see lots of options. So you’ll notice I could be getting a big argument with someone to just kind of say what you have to say and then afterwards When you’re calm you think “Oh, well, why didn’t I say this or why didn’t I respond in this way?” That’s because your your mental capacities also get very limited and narrow when you’re stressed out and when you’re calm They expand and widen. So long story short one of the ways you can trigger your vagal nerve To send a message to your brain to calm down is by using your peripheral vision. So the way you do this is you can just keep looking straight ahead looking at at the screen and As you do that keep your eyes pointed forward but start to notice the things in your periphery Notice what’s going on at the edges of your periphery? And as you do this by softening your gaze and opening up your peripheral vision That triggers the vagal nerve to send messages of safety to your body and to relax the nervous system. Again I like this activity because you can do it pretty much anywhere, if you’re in a stressful meeting You can just soften your gaze for a minute. No one’s going to notice because you’re still looking at whatever You’re supposed to be looking at

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