As promised here is a reminder about how to use mental rehearsal.
So firstly a definition, mental rehearsal is the act of imagining yourself in a situation you normally find challenging and seeing yourself being successful.
I wonder how many of you recognise you already do this?
How many of you do the positive version?
And how many of you do the negative version known as “catastrophising”.
In catastrophising you imagine everything that could possible go wrong – the fantasies are endless. The amazing thing is, that sometimes the really off the wall things you worry about actually happen. This is the power of mental rehearsal, it is as if you become a magnet for the experiences you imagine.
How much more powerful if you focus on positive outcomes!
Before I discuss how to do this let me give you some of the background, and we need to start by looking at how the brain works. Whenever we go into any situation our brain triggers what is known as a generalised memory. This generalised memory is sub-conscious and gives us unconscious messages about how to behave and how to feel in the situation. This generalised memory is the amalgamation and edited experiences from your past relating to a particular type of situation. The generalised memory has neuro pathways connected to a number of different “anchors” or stimuli. When an anchor is triggered the programme runs. For instance, you may have a particular programme that runs when faced with conflict, it may vary according to gender, age or status of the other person resulting in “knee jerk” reactions. Some knee jerk reactions are positive in which case I would advise you to leave them alone but others can be really unhelpful.
Mental rehearsal allows you to invent your own generalised memory to replace the old programme. It is replaced using constant repetition making the pathway to the new memory stronger than the pathway to the old one.
Mental Rehearsal Exercise
- Close your eyes.
- Imagine yourself in the situation in as much detail as possible.
- Imagine everything happening the way you would like it to.
- See yourself easily and effortlessly, overcoming any barriers or obstacles that may arise. This is vital, if you miss this stage out you may get thrown when obstacles appear in real life.
- Imagine the situation coming to a successful and satisfying conclusion.
- End by imagining some form of celebration or appreciation of your success. Get really silly with this and have some fun. The idea here is to intensify the positive experience and anchor it into the brain.
This blog marks a change to a new topic, Neuro-science, the brain and coaching.
I have just started a course myself as a student. The first module was this week and quite frankly it was a bit of a “brain dump”. There were things I recognised mixed in with some interesting new nuggets. In order to process this information I am going to start sharing it with you.