Today, we’re going to be talking about novelty, the eyes, the brain and the alphabet.
One of the things we want to emphasize this particular month is movement novelty.
Now, when we look at the brain, we talk about the idea that the brain craves novelty.
The whole Z-Health approach is looking at what’s your current brain function, what do we need to do in order to shift it. One of the things that has come out in a research over the last decade or so is that when brains are bored, they quit changing as much.
The whole idea of what’s called neuroplasticity, that brains are bending and that we can shape them. One of the primary ways that we shape them is by novelty and challenge. Something new, something a little bit difficult.
Now, also within our approach, we do lots and lots of different vision exercises, different visual movement drills.
We’re going to show you this really simple little idea that you can use sitting in the office. Don’t do this while driving.
Anytime you want to give your eyes a break and maybe you’re tired of doing stuff like what we call smooth pursuits or saccades or maybe you watch The Vision Gym and you go, “Okay, I’ve done a million circles and I’ve done a million spirals and my eye movement’s pretty good.”
How do you challenge it a little bit more? Simply do something different.
The simple idea here is that you’re gonna use your eyes.
Just like maybe in the past, you’ve sprained your ankle and the therapist or doctor told you it was part of your rehab, write the ABCs with your foot.
You can write the ABCs with your eyes because if you think about this, working through the alphabet is going to make your eyes move in as many different directions as it possibly can.
The simple idea is to write capital letters with your eyes.
For instance, if I start off and I make the letter A, I look up, look down, cross over. Super simple.
The novelty aspect of this is I’m gonna have you write the A, then I want you to write it backwards or upside down.
As you do this, what you will find is there will be period and you will go, “I’m a little lost,” because thinking about writing a Q backwards with your eyes is a little challenging.
P’s, think about reversing them. Think about making them upside down.
What we do whenever we play with different things like this is we take something that you’re already good at. You’ve probably known the alphabet for many, many years and you’re great at writing it in your head, but when we ask you to write it backwards, when we ask you to write it upside down, all of a sudden, other areas of your brain have become engaged in the process.
This is really a two for one exercise.
Basically, it’s gonna give you lots and lots of work for the muscles around your eyes.
It’s gonna work on your coordination.
It’s gonna work on different movement patterns.
On top of that, it’s going to engage different areas of your brain in a different as you work through something that you know very well and as you work through something that, maybe, is very, very new to you.
Again, very simple idea. You start off, write an A, write it backwards.
If you want to make it even more challenging, do it upside down. Then you go to B, then you to C and work your way through.
Again, it’s not specific to any given language. Whatever your native tongue is, use those letters. Use the ones you actually know well. Like I said, make sure that in the process, you give yourself a novelty challenge by doing it upside down or backwards.
Now, when you do this, it will probably take you, surprisingly, longer than you think.
If you do two to three different variations, it’ll probably take you three to four minutes to go all the way through it because you’ll be going through and having to stop and imagine the activity, imagine the movement, then doing the movement.
Don’t be surprised if you’re a little bit fatigued.
Remember to keep breathing.
Maintain good posture as you do it.
Again, super simple, easy exercise that you can do anywhere, anytime.
If you give it a try, one of the things that you may find is if you’ve done other vision work with us and you’ve seen some improvement, the envision of these novel stimuli may actually increase the things that you’ve already improved.
One other question that may come up as you start to this is should I do it eyes open or eyes closed.
Some people that are kind of bothered by visual stimulus meaning I’m looking around, the lights are bothering me, etc., may find that just closing the eyes as you do the exercise allows them to focus on the feeling of the movement a little bit more.
If you’re really trying to go, “Okay, how do my eyes feel? How do the muscles feel?”, an eyes closed version may be more useful to you.
At some point, you also want to get to the… reach an area… or reach a point of practice where doing it with your eyes open does not bother you.
One of the big things that we want to deal with as we do these different movements is that the visual landscape in front of you is going to be changing and that shouldn’t cause you any problems.
That’s really the whole goal here.
Again, feel free to begin however you like to, whatever is easiest for you.
Try the different versions, eyes open, eyes closed, but eventually try to make progress to point that you can do it either way without causing challenges for yourself.
Give it a shot. If you have any questions, let us know.
Otherwise, good luck with your alphabet.