Peripheral Vision: Meaning & Exercise [Essential Skill]
What is peripheral vision? In this article, we find out what it means and how to train your peripheral vision. Read along and find out all about this important skill…
What is peripheral vision?
I can talk to you and just look at you constantly. In the meantime I also see all kinds of other objects in space on the left and right. Peripheral vision is thus the opposite of tunnel vision.
So I am extra alert, vigilant and in the here-and-now because I have full interaction with you and all the other possible stimuli that may come to me in the here-and-now.
So I am less / not ‘in my head’. Literally. My attention is focused outside of myself. And myself is simply full of problems. Those problems are no longer in your attention when your full attention is focused a few meters around you. You are then more in unity with everything and everyone around you.
So… I am not with my full attention with my conversation partner?
Yes! You are with your full conscious attention with your conversation partner when you are in peripheral view. Peripheral vision is an unconscious process. You are with your conscious attention with your conversation partner, but you trust that your subconscious is pointing out to you that there is something in your peripheral vision that may need your attention.
Why is it important to use your peripheral vision?
Maybe I’m a dad and should be vigilant of my kids playing in the playground while having a conversation with one of the other parents on the side of the playground.
Or maybe I am giving a presentation, while I also want to respond alertly to everything that is happening in the room, such as the audience that might be distracted or facing an emergency.
Peripheral vision is, above all, an inductive state. If you have your peripheral vision on, suddenly much more is possible.
If you are in peripheral vision, you will become calm. Many speakers and athletes take advantage of this when they are on stage.
Peripheral vision is the beginning of a flow state.
Exercise for your peripheral vision
Follow the bullets below …
- Focus on a specific point right in front of you.
- Raise your index fingers at face level, then move them to the sides of your field of vision until they are just in your vision. Focus your vision on a precise point right in front of you.
- Enter deep into it now, and become more and more vigilant.
- And I don’t know whether that increasing vigilance is set in motion first in your vision, or in your hearing, or in your sense of smell. Wherever it starts, close your eyes and tune in to the power of your visual sense. Open your eyes and imagine your vision getting stronger. Imagine your vision getting clearer. Imagine being able to see a lot more, and a lot further, even if you move your fingers even further to the sides. You notice right now that your vision is expanding like a blot, while your gaze is still on that point, you can perceive what is going on around that spot, and it is expanding even on both sides, and further behind you, the rest of the room. You can see the back of your head, as it were.
- Do the same with your hearing, including hearing (and feeling) your breath. From now on you will hear more clearly … More and more sounds in this room … And more and more sounds that are also outside this room … In the street … In the municipality … Province etc.
- Do the same with your gut, including, for example, the feel of your toes. You feel exactly where objects and people are.
- Do the same with your sense of smell.
- Notice how you now sharpen all senses to the maximum at the same time. Very well! And notice how your breathing has changed. Very well.
Practicing peripheral vision with two people
- Look at a point on the window.
- Your practice partner always takes a few steps to the side.
- Can you still see him / her while looking at that point?
- And now? Walk further and further to the side. And now? Etc.
At the NLP trainer course at UNLP, aspiring trainers are asked to give presentations, in which someone always holds up a tennis ball on the side. The speaker should just continue with his / her presentation, but point at the tennis ball to say, “I’ve seen it.”
The test audience is also asked to sometimes pull a funny face, after which the speaker has to nod, smile, wink, or even better: point at that person without looking at that person!
Good luck with your peripheral vision!
Peripheral vision is very powerful. Create peripheral vision as often as possible. Use it for your peak performance, run with peripheral vision and be present with peripheral vision.
To your success!