How To Get Your Blinking Under Control

Posted by | October 12, 2010 | Speaking & Presence | 2 Comments

Blinking too much is actually quite a common problem – but how can you fix it so you don’t have to resort to toothpicks or sticky tape?

When it comes to blinking, the average can vary from 15-30 times a minute. But it will constantly fluctuate – you blink much more slowly when you’re taking in visual information, like when you’re reading for example. And you blink less when you focus on listening to someone.

You may blink more when you’re tired or dehydrated, and when you’re bored you might find yourself blinking very slow indeed – until you fall asleep.

All of these are very normal responses for our eyelids – but what about blinking too much because you’re nervous or anxious?

Your eyes are beautifully tuned in to your internal state. They’ll pick up on when you’re anxious or stressed or even just confused over what to say next, meaning you might take on the visual stutter of faster blinking, even if you think you have it under control.

The less under pressure you can help yourself to feel, the less you will blink. So here are some strategies you can put into place now to get that blinking under control.

  1. Breathe, get grounded, and breathe some more. If you’re anxious, the first place you have to go to is your breath. Dig deep, take full breaths from your diaphragm and let your shoulders drop. Being confident is about being present, so let your breath take you back to feeling centered and more in control.
  2. Slow down. If you’re anxious about how you’re coming across, you can really help yourself by speaking at a more leisurely pace. Remember – you are in control of your expression and not the other way around.
  3. Focus those eyes to keep the eyelids open. Often blinking is only a problem when you are talking, not when you are listening. That’s because when you are really listening to someone, you aren’t focusing on yourself, you’re concentrating on them. So when it’s your turn to speak, really make an effort to focus your eyes in two or three places – the eyes of your listener are a great place to start but if you focus too much they’ll think you are staring at them.
  4. Believe in what you are saying. When you believe your opinions are valuable and interesting, this gives you so much more confidence. Would you blink so much if you had to evacuate to a full auditorium because you were the only one who knew there was a fire? Trust that you are worthy of being taken seriously.
  5. Record yourself. There’s nothing like watching yourself on camera to understand your own body language. Record yourself reading or talking and notice if there are any specific triggers -  then practice speaking while using the above techniques and notice the difference.

If you have any strategies that have worked for you, share them in the comments!


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