May 8, 2008

Preparation rituals, part 2

Following up on part 1 of my preparation rituals series, today let's talk about another two kinds of rituals.

There are rituals for mental preparation and there are rituals for physical preparation. Why do we need both kinds, especially if we're not athletes and we're not about to run a marathon?

The mental preparation ritual includes both focus and distraction. Think about the mental preparation you like to do before your activity, competition or performance. You might not even realize you're doing it! Some examples of mental preparation include:

* Visualization
* Affirmations
* Meditation
* Prayer
* Reviewing past performances
* Writing
* Watching TV
* Listening to music
* Reading
* Strategizing and planning

Mental preparation rituals help us to focus, organize, block out distractions, visualize success, and handle pressure. They help us get into a natural flow where our performance feels effortless and automatic.

The key to mental preparation is in believing it. If you don't think visualization and affirmations are going to work for you, then they aren't going to work for you. However, if you open yourself up to the power of the mind, you will see that these tools are truly powerful and can propel you to success in ways you can't yet imagine.

If you prefer distracting rituals before your event, visualization and affirmations can still be practiced, but you will want to practice them in the days leading up to the event, not on the day.

Now how does physical preparation fit into this scenario?

Physical rituals prepare us in a different way than mental rituals, although some overlap, like visualization, which can benefit both the mind and body.

Physical rituals include:

* Stretching
* Breathing
* Relaxation exercises
* Slow warm ups like walking
* Fast warm ups like running or jumping jacks
* Rehearsing
* Napping
* Eating or drinking certain foods and beverages
* NOT eating or drinking certain foods and beverages
* Wearing particular clothing, shoes, jewelry, hats, etc.
* Superstitious behaviors like not shaving or carrying a good luck charm

The benefits of active physical preparation rituals are in promoting blood and oxygen flow, releasing muscle tension, and encouraging muscle memory. Coordination, balance, and reflexes are all triggered with active preparation.

The other, more superstitious practices of physical preparation have an emotional effect as well by promoting comfort, calmness, a feeling of repetition and consistency.

Mental and physical rituals work together to create a complete package, which you customize for your own personal needs and to achieve your own particular goals.

Part 3 will be about how to make sure your rituals are as effective as they can be.

What are your favorite mental and physical preparation rituals?

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Unknown said...

Missing, as usual, is any mention of frappuccino. Nothing like getting jacked up on sugar and caffeine before a speech and then crashing in the middle of it. MMMM.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Or having to pee in the middle of it...

I did mention eating or drinking certain foods or beverages, but you must have missed it due to your overcaffeinated state.

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