Mental training can be used in all walks of life, for athletes, artists, dancers, business people, scientists, entrepreneurs, any area where excellence is a goal. Great strides have been made in the physiology and emotional aspects of achieving the “Flow”. A lot of this stems from tremendous strides in extreme athletic performance and the analysis of how this is achieved.
Flow is caused by “transient hypofrontality” which is the temporary deactivation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). PFC houses most of our higher cognitive function (sense of self). Our inner critic goes quiet. Chemical anxiety (adrenaline) dissipates. Large quantities of norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide and serotonin flood our system. All are pleasure inducing and performance enhancing with considerable impact on creativity. Norepinephrine and dopamine amp up focus, boosting imaginative possibilities by helping us gather more information. They also lower signal-to-noise ratios, increasing our ability to link ideas together in new ways. Anandamide increases lateral thinking, it expands the size of the data base search by the pattern recognition system. Taken together neurochemical, neuroelectrical and neuroanatomical changes in brain function provide us with an exceptional way to be more creative. A must read book, “The Rise of Superman” by Steven Kotler gives many examples of people who have achieved the “Flow”.
The inspirational quotes listed below are a compilation relating to sports and everyday life. What I suggest is that you read through them pick out your favorites and/or the ones most appropriate for you at this time. Write them down on a 3 X 5 card and post them where you will see and read them every day. Reading them out loud reinforces them better in your mind. Whether it is your bathroom mirror, your daily planner or the console in your car it is important to see and read them.
Goals are the same way, if you don’t have them you become a wandering generality. It is important to not only have them, but writing them down and posting them is so important. Reading them out loud reinforces them in your mind. Telling others about them shows your commitment. It is extremely hard to set a goal and just go out and achieve it. You need to set milestones and timelines along the path to achieving your goals. Prior to the 2012 Olympics, for a couple years, Michael Phelps had written on large sheets his goals and milestones for achieving them on large posters and put them on his ceiling above his bed so he could see them and go over every night before he went to bed.