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 💐