Hypnosis has been used in sport for a number of years now. It is highly likely that any high level sports person or team you can think of has a psychotherapist in the background, helping them to get mentally fit along side the team of coaches, physiotherapists, medics who help keep them at their physical peak. As far back as the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, the Russian team was using hypnosis and psychotherapeautic techniques to improve performance and produce champions year after year.
And these techniques are used in many other areas of life such as preparing for childbirth (hypnobirthing), hypnosis for pain management including documented cases of patients undergoing major surgery without anesthetics, many performers use hypnosis before going on stage and that includes business people (public speakers or simply doing a internal company presentation),
So what’s it all about, isn’t it just daydreaming about winning, seeing yourself crossing that finishing line(or the baby’s birth, the applause at the end of a performance, etc)? If that was it then all you’d be focusing on is the end result, not the steps that get you there…
Hypnosis for sport, motivation, weight loss, finishing a project, whatever it is involves experiencing the whole journey – the wind in your hair or the feel of contractions, the muscles bunching and relaxing, every part of the body is involved. By doing this, by visualising in detail all the nuances along with the activity involved we are creating a ‘blueprint’ for our bodies and minds to repeat, and repeat, and repeat so that it becomes automatic, it becomes a familiar map to follow.
We are telling the body and mind exactly what we want it to do so the more detailed we can make it the more we will learn from it. And when these visualisations are done in conjunction with physical training (such as preparing to run in a race, or rehearsing a speech) we are rounding out the experience. Some years ago I ran in the London Marathon, prior to the date I attended one of the information/training days and one of the most valuable pieces of information I got from it was to train at the time of the actual race. By running in the morning during training, I was mentally and physically more prepared for the race day as this was a ‘normal’ time for me to run. It didn’t jar with my expectations of what would happen on the day.
The more true to life we can make it the more we learn, so colour your visualisation with sounds, smells, how things feel. Most racers in all sports (whether it’s running, horse riding, formula one) will walk the course so they can create a blueprint in their mind, they will work out ahead of the race when they should start turning, speed up, or slow down.
Here’s another example from my own experience: I competed in a triathlon a couple of years ago, I drove the bike course before the race day so I could see where the hills and bends were and it meant I wasn’t worrying about getting lost! I then used that map I created to ‘cycle’ the route in the comfort of my own home, building up the image over a period of time. I also practised the transition (change from wetsuit to getting ready to cycle and then to run), again doing this physically and mentally so it became second nature on the race day, I didn’t have to think about what I needed to do I just did it.
And if it’s good enough for all those professional athletes, singers, performers, isn’t it good enough for you? If you have an event coming up, by rehearsing the physical movements along with visualising them, the results are even more effective so that when you’re standing at that start line, or on your way to giving birth, or preparing to face the audience your muscles memory will kick in and you will perform to your best – because you know how to as you’ve already experienced it.
Now, obviously just visualising winning isn’t going to get you to your goal – every first time parent will tell you they simply can’t imagine how the baby makes it out! – but if you have a plan and practise towards that end, you know how you’re going to get there and you have a much better chance of actually achieving it. In my hypnobirthing classes, one of the things I impress on prospective parents is the necessity to practise – to visit the chosen maternity unit or place of delivery, familiarise yourself with routes to it and parking, spend time doing the breathing exercises with visualisations and the relaxation hypnosis so that when the actual event happens it is all second nature, you’re not fumbling around trying to read signs or manuals, your head will be in the ‘zone’ and you’ll work together as a team. And a materinity unit at the point of delivery with possibly people looking on (at least the midwife, maybe additional nursing staff) is not the place to start trying to coach your partner with hypnosis!
Having a plan and a solid path to follow makes it much more likely you will succeed, and by visualising each step you are enhancing your preparedness, and your motivation to achieve the goal. A huge part of performance is self-belief, if we are scared and fearful of failure we will release unhelpful stress hormones which only cloud our thinking, but with self-belief we release the much more helpful serotonin (‘happiness’ hormone) and dopamine (‘reward’ hormone) which will encourage us to continue, to commit to the task and get out of bed to train. It even helps us cope with any roadblocks or setbacks that might occur.
Once your mind has ‘seen’ the goal being achieved through hypnosis or guided visualisations, and that blueprint is made to get you there, it knows you can do it!
If you would like to learn more about how hypnosis can help you with whatever your big event is, do get in touch email@example.com or tel 01798 344879