Why Your Eyes Look Up And Your Tongue Tenses When You ThinkWhen thinking, you often just naturally roll your eyes up and your tongue tenses in your mouth. Ever wonder why you do these things?  There are real physical reasons for both.

Go Ahead…Roll Your Eyes

Rolling your eyes up is an automatic response the body makes when trying to access lost or hidden information because doing this causes alpha waves in your brain. The production of alpha waves is physiologically linked to the movement of the eyes. and if you close your eyes and roll them up, you’ll churn out even more alpha waves.

Making alpha waves is a good thing as they are present in a relaxed state of awareness, such as in a day dreaming mind.  An alpha brain state is between waking and sleeping and provides a bridge to the subconscious mind.  Alpha brain waves allow for vivid, lucid imagery and assist in creativity and insight.

Eye rolling has long been used as a meditation technique because it more quickly leads to an altered state of consciousness and the theta brain waves sought after in deep meditation.

For some creative inspiration, a relaxing break in your day, or a meditation tip, you can kick-start your brain’s alpha waves by doing this simple but profound technique.   Anna Wise suggests specific exercises her book Awakening the Mind: A Guide to Harnessing the Power of Your Brainwaves:

  • With your eyes closed, inhale and gently raise your eyes to look toward the center of your forehead.
  • When you exhale, lower your eyes.
  • Again when you inhale, gently raise your eyes behind closed eyelids.
  • And when you exhale, lower your eyes again.
  • Repeat for three or four more breaths.

It’s the movement of the eyes that causes the production of alpha waves.  So, you don’t want to continuously hold your eyes up.  After a few minutes, the alpha producing quality of this action diminishes, and your eye muscles are delicate and easy to tire.

Thinking With Your Tongue

When people think, they have a tendency to talk to themselves.  Even if you are not consciously aware of this subvocalization, your body, more specifically, your tongue is.  It will tense up when you’re thinking, ready for action.

You may experience this as a general stiffness of your  tongue.  It may lift up off of the floor of your mouth, pull at the back of your throat, move as if talking, or you may not feel it consciously at all. If you relax your tongue completely, it’s very difficult to talk to yourself.

Go ahead, I know you have to try it.  🙂

Relaxing your tongue makes it much more difficult to think. 

This simple technique can help stop your internal chatter and quiet your mind when you just need a moment of peace or when meditating.  Relaxing your tongue radically reduces the production of thinking beta brain waves and stills the mind.

Relaxing the tongue is such an effective practice that, in her book, Awakening the Mind: A Guide to Harnessing the Power of Your Brainwaves, Anna Wise writes, “If you take nothing else away with you from reading this book, you will have gained enormously from this one practice. “

She offers the following exercises:

  • Close your eyes and allow your tongue to relax.
  • No one will be looking at you, so it’s OK to let your mouth hang open slightly.
  • Just simply let your tongue go, especially the back of your tongue.
  • As you exhale, feel it let go even more.
  • Exaggerate the relaxation.
  • Exaggerate it again.
  • You can almost feel your tongue floating in the cavity of your mouth.
  • You may feel it shorten some – or thicken.
  • Exaggerate the relaxation even more.
  • Focus on only relaxing your tongue – nothing else.

I can’t help but think of a Labrador Retriever about now.  Maybe we could learn something from them?  They always look pretty happy!


    • dblhampton Reply

      Me too, Diane. To me, it feels like it goes with rolling the eyes up for some reason. If it doesn’t help access information, it helps us laugh! 🙂

  1. dblhampton Reply

    I know, me too, Diane. I didn’t see any info about that. To me, it feels like part of the rolling the eyes up. Maybe.

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