“The eyes are the windows to the soul.” This observation attributed to French Poet Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas sums up the power of prolonged eye contact for building intimacy within a romantic relationship.
You may have noticed that staring into the eyes of your significant other feels good. But as it turns out, eye gazing has a host of benefits that can help you and your partner feel connected and create a stronger sense of intimacy.
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Let’s take a look at the benefits of eye gazing – what it is, how it can impact your relationship and how to use it to strengthen your bond with your partner.
What Is Eye Gazing? And What Are Its Benefits?
To an outside observer, eye gazing can look like a prolonged staring contest. But the practice of eye gazing is more than just maintaining eye contact. Unlike staring, eye gazing focuses on holding a softer gaze with your partner, having two sets of eyes meet and truly look into one another.
Breathing exercises can be paired with eye gazing as well. Depending on each partner’s preference, sitting face to face and closing your eyes first, taking a few deep breaths and then opening your eyes to meet your partner’s eyes can be an effective starting point.
Eye gazing offers plenty of benefits for couples looking to forge a deeper connection when done regularly. Here are a few ways that eye gazing helps build intimacy and improve connection.
Eye gazing builds trust
When a person avoids eye contact, they’re naturally perceived as hiding something or being dishonest. Maintaining eye contact does the opposite – studies have shown that a person who keeps eye contact is considered more trustworthy. Applying this finding to a relationship, continuous eye contact with a partner can make couples more likely to trust one another.
Eye gazing helps you perceive your partner’s emotions
Being able to pick up on when your partner’s emotions without them having verbally tell you how they’re feeling builds intimacy by making your partner feel understood. While other indicators like body language can help with this, one study found that most people analyze a person’s eyes to get clued into how someone is feeling.
Eye gazing improves connection
Gazing into someone’s eyes helps foster a deeper bond and connection between partners.
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In a world with constant distractions thanks to technology, having someone give you their undivided attention through eye gazing makes a person feel important. Eye gazing can make you feel extremely connected. One study found that those who participated in eye gazing with their partner felt as if they’d become so bonded that they were one entity.
Eye gazing creates intimacy and attraction
Many classic studies have shown that prolonged eye gazing generates shared feelings of love and connection. One of the most known cases dates back to 1989, when researchers paired strangers up and had them gaze into each other’s eyes for two minutes. Participants reported feelings of love and connection. This could be due to evidence that shows prolonged eye contact releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone in our brains that creates attachment and bonding.
How to Practice Eye Gazing
Practicing eye gazing with your partner for the first time can be an awkward, even uncomfortable, experience. Keeping prolonged eye contact with another person leaves you open and vulnerable, which may not yield the positive feelings you’d hoped on your first few tries. Here are a few tips for getting started, along with ways to make you and your partner feel more comfortable.
Turn off the TV, silence your phones and put them out of eye range, along with tablets and computers. Eye gazing is best practiced in a comfortable area of your home where distractions are limited.
Find a comfortable space in your home where you and your partner can sit facing one another for a prolonged period of time. You can decide to hold each other’s hands or sit with your legs touching one another if you prefer.
Close your eyes
Closing your eyes and breathing in tandem with your partner before you start eye gazing helps ground the experience and set a clear starting time for this exercise.
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Try closing your eyes, taking three deep breaths in and out together, then slowly opening your eyes to meet your partner’s gaze.
Taking deep breaths in and out while eye gazing can help center you and your partner during the experience. Inhale and exhale a few deep breaths at the start of the exercise with your eyes open, then continue breathing regularly for the duration.
Hold the gaze
You may find yourself wanting to look away and take a break – which is perfectly normal. Even if you look away, try your best to return to meet your partner’s gaze.
Look at both eyes
As you move through the exercise, you may want to look into one of your partner’s eyes, then the other, to get a closer look – especially if this is a new experience for one or both of you.
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Do your best to keep each eye focused on the eye directly across from your partner, as darting eyes can be distracting for the person you are eye gazing with.
Aim for 3-5 minutes of eye gazing
Some couples may find it helpful to set a timer during this exercise – others may find it distracting. However, if you and your partner prefer to time things out, aim for around three to five minutes of eye gazing each time for best results.
End with a few deep breaths
Taking two or three deep breaths at the close of the eye gazing exercise helps keep things from ending too abruptly. Breathe in and out together, and try to time your breathing to your partner’s once you’ve finished eye gazing.
Eye gazing can be a powerful tool to connect two people when performed regularly and with intention. It helps strengthen relationships and increase feelings of connection and closeness. If you or your partner struggle when first trying eye gazing, try not to take it too personally, as this can be an intensely intimate practice to engage with.
As with learning anything new, mastering the art of eye gazing can take practice. You may find that you and your partner need to adjust the method or even take a break during it. With time and practice, eye gazing will come easier for the both of you and be something you each look forward to doing together.
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