Visualize to Realize
Mental practice is the use of physical imagery to practice an act mentally. Research has indicated that in some cases mental practice can be used as effective as physical practice. The use of visualization is widely used among sport athletes and musicians. A famous example that uses these techniques is Muhammad Ali. Mental practice has been found to enhance our motivation, confidence, self-efficacy, and states of flow. Visualizing calmness can also help in reducing stress and anxiety. All especially relevant in engineering our career lion lives.
But how can mental practice impact as physical actions? Research has indicated that we experience real-world and imaginary actions in similar ways. Cognitive brain processes such as motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory are activated by actions as well as visualizing.
Here is a list of tips and tricks to get the most out of mental practice:
Performance psychologist Gervais states that the most effective mental practice involves all five senses. You should basically be so caught up in a mental image as if it was actually happening right then and there.
Bestselling author Lowndes that wrote “How to talk to anyone - 92 little tricks for big success”, also refers to this kind of visualization. She describes it as the “watch the scene before you make the scene”. According to her, we should start to see, hear, feel, and visualize ourselves being a Super Somebody before becoming one. Basically, also indicating that it is especially important to think from a sense-perspective.
As Lownes hints at as well, imagery expert Seabourne stresses that you should visualize from your own perspective to get the most out of your mental practice. You should not be watching a video of yourself, but you should visualize yourself actually doing it.
Creating a Database
To optimize our mental practice, we will have to provide our brains enough data to visualize what it is we want to achieve. Watching and/or listening to experts is a great way to obtain this information. Your brain needs a reference when constructing your skills.
In order to increase the benefits, you have to be very specific about what you want to achieve. Research has indicated that those who imagined every step of their achievement opposed to the general outcome experienced much more benefits.
In all the years of dancing, I have been practicing my routines in my head or going through motions with my fingers. However, I never thought about taking this mental practice to the next level. I will definitely be using these tips and tricks to further my dance training as well as work preparations for meetings and presentations. Are you also intrigued to use these techniques to enhance your skills? Let us know in the comment section.