You might write-off the following as New Age crystal claptrap but all of these techniques have been proven by rigorous scientific study to work and are in use by Olympians and top flight professional sports people. Maybe they could help you too?
An affirmation is a repeated statement (spoken or written) that you want to come true.
Have you ever got a new car and then started noticing how many other people have the same car as you? That’s down to the Reticular Activating System in your brain, it controls how awake you are and how much attention you are paying to something.
“Your eyes only see and your ears only hear what your mind is looking for.”
Your brain is a filtering machine. You are bombarded with thousands of images and sounds every single minute. Your brain filters out the things you are interested in and discards the rest.
Affirmations work because if you repeat something over and over it tells your subconscious mind that thing is important. Then your subconscious can take on the work of noticing things and solving problems to do with your chosen affirmation.
If you’d like to give it a try, every morning take a piece of paper and write down your affirmation 20 times. For instance you might write “Our revenue will grow 25% by next year”. Writing it down is far more effective than just saying it as you are engaging more parts of your brain in the task, therefore your subconscious will put a greater priority on it.
Often used by sports people in training and competitive events they will imagine themselves successfully doing a physical action. It’s like a dress rehearsal for your brain, if you see a sports person taking a short pause before they take an important kick or shot, visualising is what they will be doing. Studies suggest that performance can be increased by 30%, maybe more.
Guess what, you visualise things all the time already but usually we imagine all the ways something could go wrong. If positive visualisations can increase your performance by 30% what do you think negative ones are doing?
Many scientific studies show that gratitude can benefit you and your performance in many ways. You don’t even have to express it to other people, just jot down 3 things a day you are grateful for.
Studies have shown that it can increase your happiness, help you sleep better, help deal with stress and even reduce physical pain! People in an MRI scanner practising gratitude had increased activity in their hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls: stress, sleep, hunger, dopamine transmission and many other things.
Whatever you call it this has to be the mother of mental exercises. Many, many studies have been done and meditation has been proven to: increase your immune system, decrease pain, reduce inflammation, increase positivity, decrease depression, reduce anxiety, eliminate stress, boost emotional intelligence and increases social skills, make you feel more compassionate and less lonely, increase your willpower, make you more introspective, reduce anger, increase self-control, increase brain function, make you more focussed, increase your attention span, improve multitasking, improve memory, improve creativity plus many other things. Convinced yet?