Awareness of your mind and body is frequently discussed as a mindfulness activity that improves your mental wellbeing. However, the science behind mindful eye contact can be just as beneficial to your health.
The eyes are one of your key communication tools that are not only used to see but to be seen. People are the only species to have extensively visible whites to bring out the colour of their irises. This unique quirk allows you to see the direction of someone else’s gaze.
As people evolved they learned that their eyes made it easier for encouraging cooperation and forming of human relationships. The eyes are used in all interactions to read emotions, predict intention and gain insight into others’ behaviours and actions. This means the eyes are key to help you become mindful of what others are thinking and feeling.
In other words, learning to be mindful of the meaning in someone’s eyes can reduce the likelihood of you guessing therefore reducing your stressors.
Therefore, the study of eye contact is worth a further look as to how you can harness its power in mindful activities to predict behaviours and anticipate future actions.
As the first sight of communication you have with another person, eye contact builds empathy. It acknowledges that you have seen the other person and sets the scene for verbal communication.
Makes communication genuine
Have you noticed the difference in the way people smile at you? Anyone can move their lips into a smiling pattern, but it is your eyes that betray the difference between a real and fake smile. When you genuinely smile the skin between the eyebrows and upper lid will move slightly downwards. This movement happens quickly but it is noticed subconsciously by the recipient. If your smile is fake, you lose authenticity in your communication.
Improves your memory
When you make eye contact it makes you notice the other person and you are more likely to remember details about them. Combined with a tilt of the head or other movement it creates a visual bond and increases engagement. Your interactions are more personalised creating a common bond for a stronger connection.
Being mindful of the way you use eye contact authentically will build trust in your communications, build interest from your recipient and allow you to have better interactions.