Post: Mental Rehearsal: Does visualization work? 🙌

Hello everyone! Have a great Sunday 🙋🏻

What is this concept of mental rehearsal? It is an active visualisation technique through the individual’s mind to demonstrate the performance of a particular task just as the way he wants it to be. By doing it repeatedly, there can be subjective learning and actual performance improvement. Researches in performance psychology have been using visualization techniques through mental rehearsal methods to improve the performance in case of athletes and other areas of sports.
Well, it has proved successful in case of sports but also been tried for other areas of psychotherapy to treat mental illness. Can this technique be used in a normal person like us? Can you tap the huge potential of this technique of mental rehearsal and bring improvement in some areas of your life where you lack? Say, any tasks like performing on stage, appearing an exam, public speaking, or trying long-distance running, staying fitter, healthier, overcoming fear so on. The answer is absolute yes. The more we visualize ourselves, the more we perform for success.
Interestingly, neuroscience researchers have shown that by the mental rehearsal of a particular activity, the thought alone (not performing the task physically ) and having it repeatedly can build up new circuitry in the brain. This can bring about objective changes in that particular area of a person’s life. This happens because when the person perform the particular task with focused attention in mental rehearsal (just the thought of performing) and do it repeatedly, the brain understands it as a true physical performance and start building neural pathways of the new learning. The brain cannot differentiate between a real and imaginary and takes this imaginary performance as a truly physical experience. Therefore, as the person changes his mind, the brain physically changes too and vice versa. So it becomes cyclical. The frontal area of the brain covers the larger part of the brain. It carries out all the major activities of thinking, analyzing, planning, decision making. It is in this area where, we learn, remember new things, explore new things. So, when you focus on a particular area with full attention (the thought alone), cut down all external distraction, the frontal area of the brain lowers the awareness from all external stimuli of the outside environment and the body. When the brain is so focused on that particular thought at the present moment, that’s when actual physical changes happen, new neural pathways start forming. The brain and the body believes that as an actual physical experience.

The question is how can we apply this in our everyday life? Every person or individual wants to be his/her best version. Every person loves to be successful in some area or the other. Every person wants to be happy in life. If you sit down today and start analysing your life and find out which areas in life, you lack. How can you bring about changes in those areas to improve your quality of life? You start to focus on one particular area of life at a time. Start doing a mental rehearsal of performing better in that area, or visualising a success scenario, or intentionally changing that aspect of life. Performing this mental rehearsal every day with full attention (closed eyes), least distraction from the external stimuli and environment. Doing repeatedly for days with some focused attention. Then, slowly the mind changes, the brain start to change too, new neural circuitry forms. When this mental rehearsal of the particular thought is done repeatedly for days, the new neural connections become stronger and stronger. That’s when the person’s behaviour starts changing, or the objective intentional changes start appearing in that area of his life. Whatever the area could be, like performing better in academics, in office, at work or a particular task. Or changing his/her approach or behaviour towards his health, fitness, other people, any relationship or in any areas, the person strives for.
But bringing out this change isn’t easy as it is said. But then, it is also very feasible too. The problem is that our mind is too crowded with stress, thoughts, burden and everyday events. It’s really difficult to remain focus on a particular thought or activity even for a single minute before the mind slips. To bring a change in any aspect of life, you need to have a strong intention, a strong will to make it real. Therefore, mental rehearsal of any kind needs to have a very concentrated focused mind. For, this you need to prepare your mind. This is a daily practice. Most of the time, certain practises as Yoga, meditation, mindfulness helps greatly to create a stable and a focused mind. You cannot learn it overnight. It is a practise which keeps getting better with time.
Some simple tips of mental practices are like
1. Sitting or lying in a comfortable position, keeping your spine straight.
2. Closing eyes is necessary to reduce the external distraction.
3. Breathing evenly and regularly. It is slow deep breathing.(Parasympathetic breathing)
4.Visualization, being detailed and specific of exactly what kind of change and in which area of life you want. And doing it repeatedly every day.
5. Doing mental rehearsal is only effective by being in the present moment. To learn, being in the present moment, try focusing your breath at several moments of the day. When you are at the present moment, there is no fear or stress of any sort.
6. Letting go of fear, everyday stress as much as possible. Don’t overthink.
7. While doing mental rehearsal, stay focus as much as possible.
The focus of mind can be learned by trying to stare an object for some time. The longer you learn to focus on a particular thing, the more is your mind under control and attentive. This is like muscle training. The more you practice, the more you get better with time.

I, myself believe in this practise of mental rehearsal. It did help me improve in some areas of life. Each individual has an inner world of wisdom. Each of us deserves to lead a successful, happy life or deserve to get whatever we want from life. The more we explore this untapped potential, brilliance and can implement in our daily life, the better we can be successful or at least can be the better version of ourselves in life.

Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐

Post : Mind control : How do I get that ?😇🤔

Hello everyone ! Have a great day 🙋🏻

Our mind is illusional. Whatever, we think and perceive is our own derived illusion. It’s our biggest friend and at the same time can be our biggest enemy. Therefore, a common quote says ” You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil “ Our mind makes up everything that happens in our life – good or bad, big or small, ugly or beauty, sad or happy, success or failure, it ‘s all within this thing, called mind. So, how do I control this thing ‘mind’ and remain focus on my goal and life purpose?

Understanding the mind, and its content is very important and fundamental. What makes our thought world? How do thoughts are generated? We build up mental impressions through the different inlets of this outer world. The inlets can be :
*Five senses: sight, hear, smell, touch, taste
*Memory: That has been built up over the years of this outside world experience, right from the day we were born.
*Activity: That we perform , habituated and do throughout the day.

We create thought by an idea backed with emotion. Through different inlets, we build up thoughts as our mental content every day. We generate, perceive, analyse, process and ruminate our entire thought world. So, we keep doing the same mental activity of thinking, analysing, ruminating every day. The thinking pattern doesn’t change. So, does our behaviour and habits. It is uninterrupted, a never-ending process which we may not be even aware.
According to Yoga Psychology ( Yoga Sutras), our thought world mainly depends on mental fluctuation (Vritti) and thoughts (prataya). The mental impulses (vritti) are created through the different inlets like the senses, memory, activity which inturn create mental impressions generating thoughts (prataya). This is the reason, when we are in a positive , vibrant environment, surrounded by positive people, we generate positive, beautiful, creative thoughts. But, when we surround ourselves with negativity, we generate negative thoughts of guilt, anger, pain, hurt, jealousy and so on.

Normally, what happens, when we centred our mind for a particular activity, at the office or home. There are endless distractions. Okay, we try to control the distraction or cut down to some extent, but still mental fluctuations and wondering thoughts continue to distract us. This is because the memory continues to generate unstable thoughts in an unstable mind.
Therefore to manage our mind, we need to control our mental fluctuation and thoughts. The only way to control them is through a concentrated mind. A concentrated mind can be achieved through the power of attention. The power of attention is our very own property (which arises from self) which we can achieve by practising and training our mind. It is a steady power of awareness which is created at our own will. It is the only capability that we can learn to develop for mind control. Whereas, the mental fluctuations (impression) and thoughts are greatly influenced by our outer world, the external distractions. They are not completely within our control.

The different states of mind depending on the power of attention can be defined as
*Ordinary mind: When both the mental fluctuations (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are unstable. The mind is rather restless distracted, jumping from one thought to another.

*Focused mind: When there is less mental fluctuation (stable vritti) but thoughts are still wobbly (unstable prataya). This is the learning mind.

*Concentrated mind: When both the mental fluctuation (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are on the same line, stable enough. This is the highest level of attentive mind.

*Meditative mind: When the vritti and prataya are concentrated at the same point, on a similar goal. That is the mind is concentrated at one point say, your attention is entirely on your breath or a point of focus. That is when both mental fluctuation and thought are at the same point. This is the highest level of concentration.

The power of attention is similar to a focused beam of light where all your energies are focused. With this power of attention, you can learn, achieve, complete tasks and attain success in whichever areas of life you want to. That is the reason, we should always learn to perform an activity or task one at a time. So, we give our full power of attention. Handling multiple tasks all at a time can be like a scattered beam where all your energies are distributed. You can be able to do some while some are left undone. Your mind will keep fluctuating and your attention span will be variable and unstable.

So, how do I learn to achieve a concentrated mind with the ultimate power of attention? How do I control my mind, my inner thought world, daily? How do I focus my mind on one activity at a time? How do I take charge of myself? This is a self-learning task, an ongoing process. Two comprehensive ways:

1. To achieve the power of attention, two important things matter the most :
Awareness: Being consciously aware all the time. Feeding our thought world and thought process with positive, constructive and creative thoughts.
Will: Self-training and developing a restrained impulse towards worthy goals, purposeful life.

2.Control of thoughts:
*Exposure to right kind of thoughts: Feeding the mind everyday with right kind of thoughts. Reading good books, being in a positive, good company, surrounded by positive vibrations.
*Right behaviour: Good conduct, right behaviour pattern influence thoughts and emotions. That means reframing our cognitive abilities. Correcting our behaviour patterns as on when required.
*Right lifestyle and habits: Maintaining a regulated lifestyle and habits will greatly influence our mind. You cannot have a stable mind with an unstable lifestyle.
*Purposeful life: Working towards a specific goal, understanding and working towards a meaningful life. Developing a stable mind through meditation and prayers. This cannot be achieved overnight. It is an ongoing, self-learning process. You and I have to keep working on it daily.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all 💐

References: Science of Focus by Pravrajika Divyanandaprana (Vivekavani)


Post: Why do people show off ? 4 interesting facts behind it

Why do people show off? Have I been a show-off myself ever in my life so far? Have you been a show-off sometimes? Let us think and introspect ourselves when and why do we have this behaviour maybe not often but sometimes? Is it good or bad?

So, this is an attempt to explore the facts and the psychology behind this behaviour which is a common thing to see in social circle.

Some weird but funny examples that people normally do to seek attention and show off in social circuit.

Social Media: In today’s time, social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are some easy platform where a person can be the complete show-off. He/she puts up pictures to show off the glimpses of their extravagant lifestyle. Now and then, puts up his/her million-dollar car picture, jams up the account with his/her latest holiday destinations pictures, the expensive suite during a hotel stay and so on. This is not enough, some will put up their best pictures in the best outfits in the best locations. What more to show off, one can display his intellectual by putting up all his achievements and lists of degrees earned in social media. People keep looking out and count on for the every ‘like’ they get. You get almost addictive to social medial approval.

Centre of attention: In a group conversation, you try to seek attention by boasting about your achievements, fame, talent and money you have earned. Even if you are in a group of friends, you are not interested in any of their lives, you would only divert every conversation towards your work, your fame even your material possession. Such behaviours of people are not only annoying but even indicate the typical showing off behaviour of the person. Next time, you meet this person, you will either ignore him or keep a distance from him.

Putting up your best: Trying out to look smart and cool so that the crowd gives you attention. You carry your latest gadgets iPhone, MAC and so on, so that people notice you. You put up your best dress, shoes, accessory in a party so that people give you attention. But in reality, isn’t it funny or an insignificant behaviour to flaunt your latest stuff?

Constantly seeking for Compliments: In a social gathering wherever you go, you constantly lookout for people’s attention. You constantly seek out for people’s compliments, praise, applause so that your ego keep boosting up.

Looking down: Your ego and pride puffs up to such an extent that you look down on the friends who cannot effort what you can. You fail to acknowledge and respect them. You forget that they too deserve the same amount of respect and attention as you deserve.

Have we ever try to reason out why do we need to or people around us exhibit such annoying behaviour of showing off?

4 interesting facts :

1.Self-doubt: When do we need to show off? When we feel that others think negatively about us. When we feel that others don’t acknowledge our identity. When we have self-doubt about our presence in a social gathering or within a group of friends. We try hard to impress and seek attention in possible ways. Self-doubt is created when we have low self-esteem, low self-confidence and doesn’t believe in ourselves. It is an internal mental state. Instead of working on our mindset, we try to seek and desire for other people’s attention by our showing off behaviour. Maybe you don’t try to show off with everyone. But to those, with whom your self-doubt starts creeping.

2.Social acceptance: Maybe one of the reasons for ‘showing off’ behaviour is to get social acceptance. Maybe the intention is not all bad. The person just wanted to be accepted in a group of friends. The basic nature of a human being is to be social, in a community or a group. So, when a person does feel that he is still an alien to the group or the gathering, he may start showing off his intelligence, education degrees, talent, achievements or his material possessions to be accepted. You fail to forget that your simple kindness and soberness can get your more friends and social acceptance that ‘showing off’ or your bragging behaviour.

3.Insecurity: When you have some kind of insecurity, maybe with your looks, appearance, financial background or education or anything that bugs you. You try to hide and overshadow your insecurity by showing off. Such examples: A girl having some insecurity with her appearance, looks, will try to show off by putting up her cool dress or a bold statement in a gathering.

A person who had a very decent upbringing in childhood must have developed some insecurity towards his rich friends in school. When he grows up, he would show off his financial achievements or possession whenever he meets up with his friends. He becomes very conscious of his material possessions.

A young or a lonely child who grows up to be the family’s centre of attention will always try to seek attention or show off in a group even if he has grown into an adult now. He will try to seek attention always as he is used to such attention since childhood.

4.Self-importance: Everyone has a narcissistic trait. But some people have it more. They always like to feel superior or better than others. So in a group gathering or conversation, they consciously show off their intellect, boost their achievements. They carry their ego at the tip of their nose and desperately seek for compliments and praise.

The reality behind this mindset of ‘showing off’ behaviour is to impress others, to improve your image in front of others. The intention may not be bad but showing off behaviour can be very annoying and unpleasant. You would always avoid and ignore such a person when you meet him next time.
Therefore, seeking social approval should not go overboard. If you need social approval, you don’t need to show off, your simple kindness and good behaviour can win hearts.