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Month: March 2014

How Your Eyes Convey Emotion

eyes female blue

Your eyes communicate much more than you may realize, in fact they play a huge role in your non-verbal communication. Consciously or not, the way you move your eyes, look at someone, blink or make eye contact can say a lot about what you are thinking and feeling.

Here's a look at how your eyes speak volumes and how you can learn to read other's emotions through their eyes. Although it is considered unreliable or controversial by some, eye movement analysis might have some truth to it. With these tips you may be able to tell if someone is happy, sad, excited, stressed or not telling the truth.

  1. Lying

    According to body language expert and former FBI counterintelligence officer, Joe Navarro, if a person's eyes move up and to the right when you ask him a question he is more than likely lying. If the person looks up and to the left he is probably telling the truth. However, it's important to realize that when someone looks around it doesn’t always mean he is lying. People sometimes look around when they are trying to process information too.
     

  2. Stress

    When someone blinks fast it is often a sign that they are under stress. At rest, the normal blink rate ranges between 8 and 21 blinks per minute. If a person blinks more frequently, such as when asked a challenging question, it is usually because he is stressed. But this isn’t always the case. Blink rates can also increase as result of dry air, dry eyes and allergens in the air that irritate the eyes.
     

  3. Disgust / Distaste

    If you see someone narrow his eyes when you are speaking to him, this is usually a negative response showing you that he finds what you are saying to be offensive. When it comes to showing distaste with the eyes, the narrower the eyes are, the more unpleasant you find what is being said. However, the best way to decipher a person's true emotions is by looking at the rest of his face. For example, narrow eyes and tight lips indicate anger.
     

  4. Discomfort

    If someone is uncomfortable with something you have said, he will often use a body language tactic called eye blocking. For example if you see someone cover his eyes or lower his eyelids following a request you make or something you say, it is sign that he is not comfortable or disagrees with what you have said.
     

  5. Happiness

    Happiness is conveyed through the eyes in a number of ways. Arched eyebrows accompanied with a smile indicate you are happy to see someone. Mothers do this naturally with their babies across all cultures.

    Another way that happiness can be detected through the eyes is through the size of the pupils, which is of course an involuntary reflex. Large pupils let others know that you like what you see. Studies have shown that when you look at an object or person you love, your pupil size increases.
     

  6. Fear or Surprise

    Fear is usually indicated by wide open eyes not accompanied with a smile but often an “O” shaped mouth. Surprise on the other hand is also usually shown by wide open eyes along with a fleeting look. Additionally, the pupils will dilate if a person is frightened or excited due to the natural adrenalin response of the body.
     

  7. Focus

    When someone is focused on something, particularly a near object, the pupils will constrict. Alternatively, they will dilate when someone is looking at a far distance.

These are only some of the non verbal emotions we express with our eyes. Next time you have a conversation, look out for these cues. They can help you really understand your friends, family, and colleagues and improve empathy and communication.

Protecting Your Eyes From The Desk Job

girl using computer

There are so many people who spend hours a day, if not most of the day working on a computer or mobile device. They usually do so without taking notice of the effect this has on their bodies. Using a computer or handheld device for extended amounts of time can cause physical stress to your body due to improper positioning such as slouching, sitting without foot support, extending your wrists and straining your eyes.

Individuals  who look at a computer or mobile screen for prolonged periods can develop computer vision syndrome (CVS) which places an enormous amount of stress on your visual system and can induce headaches and fatigue, neck, back and shoulder pain, and dry eyes among other symptoms.

Here are some tips for creating a workstation that reduces your risk of eye strain, discomfort and the potential injury that can result from prolonged computer use.

1.     Take breaks

Your eyes are at work all the time so sometimes it is good to give them a break. Since the eyes use more than one muscle group, you can do this by shifting your focus from near to far on a regular basis. How often? Apply the 20/20/20 rule – take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away. This can prevent eyestrain and help your eyes refocus.

You can also roll your eyes: first clockwise then counterclockwise briefly.

2.     Position your Monitor

Ensure that your screen is placed so that the top of the display is at or slightly below eye level. This will allow you to view the screen without bending your neck. If you aren’t able to adjust the screen height, you can adjust the height of your chair to achieve this positioning, but if this causes your feet to dangle, it is advisable to use a footrest.  

3.     Reduce Glare on the Screen

Glare is the main cause of eye strain.  Use blinds and curtains on windows to control the amount of light entering the room. If glare is caused from overhead lights, use a dimmer or replace light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs. Sometimes you don’t have control over the lighting, like if you work in an office.  Consider purchasing an anti -glare screen to put on the monitor to help filter reflected light.

4.     Blink Frequently

Make a conscious effort to blink frequently to prevent the surface of your eye from drying out. Dry eyes can be a problem with extensive screen viewing because your blink rate decreases when looking at a screen. This is particularly important if you wear contact lenses. If you find that blinking is not reducing your feelings of dry eyes, try over the counter artificial tears. Consult your optometrist about dry eye and artificial tears, because some eye drops may work better for you than others.

5.     Rest your eyes from strong lights

Some holistic practitioners recommend “palming” to rejuvenate: without touching your eyes, cup your hand lightly over your eyes for 30 seconds to rest them from light.

Either way, simply closing your eyes for a longer period than a blink can be comforting once in a while.

6.     Make sure your glasses fit the screen

If you wear reading glasses, bifocals or multifocals, you should be able to look at your monitor without tilting your head back. If not, adjust so that you can see comfortably.

7.     Consider Computer Glasses

Computer glasses are specifically designed for prolonged computer usage. The lens power aims to relax the amount of accommodation you need to keep objects in focus at the distance of the computer monitor and provides the largest field of view. Speak to your eye doctor to explore this option.

Some optometrists recommend certain lens coatings for computer use, for example blue blocker lens coatings that protect the eyes from high energy visible light (HEV).

8.     Move!

Sitting at the computer for too long is not only harmful to your eyes. It can cause stiffness and pain in the rest of your body, too.  Avoid this by getting up and moving around on a regular basis.

  • Every 10 minutes, take a short 10-20 second break by getting out of your computer chair and moving around.
  • Every 30-60 minutes, take a 2-5 minute break to stretch your arms, back and neck and walk around.

Here are some more tips on how to design an ergonomic workstation

http://www.uhs.umich.edu/files/uhs/ergo.pdf