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Why Do You Need Mental Training?

We see that in sports it is not only about physical abilities, but also a lot about keeping calm and mastering the mental challenge under extreme pressure or stress. How do you prepare to master such extreme situations? First of all it is about exercising for it, also called mental training.

In mental training you train and exercise by “simulating” the actual situation. The physical and the mental training have something in common: numerous repetitions of certain exercises and rituals.  For the physical training there is no shortcut, everybody has to do it.

This is where our thoughts come into the picture, more specifically mental training – the power of thoughts. In our daily life we function on several mental levels; the conscious and the subconscious level. We switch between these levels all the time without thinking about it. Like for example when we are driving a car. This is more or less controlled by our senses together with the subconscious mind. You drive turns, break, accelerate or gear up and down just by yourself, without thinking about it.

It is the nature of our subconsciousness we can use. It turns out that it is not rational –  it does not separate between reality and imagination, or between right or wrong, and it has no sense of time. So, what does this mean?

It means that you can think about a situation, and your subconsciousness does not know whether you have actually done and experienced something or if you just have been thinking about it. This is the source for mental training – for good and for bad. We can cheat the subconsciousness by training the thoughts for special situations, with the result that the subconsciousness believes that we have done what we have thought. An athlete can then train the thoughts in difficult situations, visualising the situations in the mind. By repeating and repeating the thoughts, and at the same time for example uses somebody else to create noise from surroundings and audience, the real situation in the arena is being mentally trained for. After a lot of this training, the situation is  incorporated in the brain in such a way that it happens without having to think, it goes on by itself.

We are all using the same principles in the daily life, but most people are not aware of this themselves. We all have an inner dialogue with ourselves in our thoughts, more or less the whole day. Very often these thoughts develops to habits, where some are good, some are bad. At some arenas we may have good habits and are thinking: Yes I can do this! Every time the thoughts circle around the given situation the same thoughts appear: Yes, I can do this! During weeks and months the same positive thoughts have been repeated – Yes I can do this! Then it is very likely that you can achieve what you have thought. Without knowing it you have been training mentally to master a situation.

Unfortunately many of us also carries on bad thinking habits with a negative sign. It may be that a person frequently is thinking: No, I am not able to do this, so I cannot do it. And in the same way, without thinking about it, this is repeated many times per day during weeks and months. The day you then shall try to do what you have been thinking that you – “are not able to” or “cannot do”, you will probably succeed in: “not doing it”. This because you have programmed yourself by training mentally with a negative sign, resulting in a mental barrier for yourself.

So, then you should understand that the saying ‘” Think positive”, is not at all incidental. Our thoughts are of major importance for our situation and how we maneuvre in life. I call it mental hygiene; “you become what you think you are”.

Read more about mental training here: Mental training – details

Author: Ingrid Kristiansen

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