Have you ever wondered why some athletes attain a higher level of success than others? Chances are that the champions we all admire as we watch their performance use Mental Rehearsals as part of their training process.
What is a Mental Rehearsal? The Soviets started using the technique back in the '70s when training their athletes. (And we all know how successful the Soviet teams were during the Olympics!) The athletes imagine their game or event from their perspective as though they are actually competing. They mentally rehearse their performance by breaking it down into each tiny component and they fully engage all their senses while mentally performing. In this way they work on improving specific aspects of their performance. They see AND feel their success at completion of the rehearsal. The technique is now being used in all sorts of applications as people strive to better their performance. If you can imagine a scenario, you can mentally rehearse it to achieve the results you want.
What does this mean to us? It can mean an end to anxiety in reality if preceded by a mental rehearsal prior to an event. It can mean your performance will be stronger if you first mentally rehearse the activity (such as resistance training). In a mental rehearsal you see through your own eyes and you have the physiological and emotional responses you would be having if you were doing the physical act itself.
Mental Rehearsal can serve you well if you wish to form new and healthy lifestyle habits. Practice mental rehearsal if you want to motivate yourself to follow through on your good intentions and follow those healthy habits all the way to success.
For instance, if you want to exercise consistently, mental rehearsal can help you. Choose an exercise you really enjoy (we only do what feels pleasurable, so it's important to find some form of movement that makes us feel pleasure and that we want to do). There are so many types of movement that help us improve our fitness as we engage in that movement, whether it's walking, running, resistance or weight training, dancing, swimming, tai chi, yoga, pilates,..the list goes on!
Once you've chosen your activity, all you need to do is mentally rehearse what you will see, feel, hear, smell, or taste as you take yourself through the routine or route. Put your senses into the mental image and really live the experience. The more you practice, the easier and more comfortable the process will become and each success will lead to another.
Think of a Mental Rehearsal as your secret success sauce!