Mental rehearsal for the day

It’s all in there

Today I have a bunch of things I need to get done, among them having a quick nap in the afternoon. I didn’t get enough sleep again last night, and I’m really dragging. I have a lot I have to get done, and I’ll need to refuel at some point. So onward. Until I need to refuel.

I am using what I learned about mental training the other day, and mentally rehearsing a meeting I have in 30 minutes… I can see myself doing well, being patient, helping and contributing and doing a good job. I’ve had good experiences in the past, and I’m hoping this will be one, too. No, not hoping — planning. And preparing. There’s no “hoping” here — just getting ready to do what I need to do.

I’m also visualizing myself answering all my emails and finishing up on some things that have been hanging around waiting to get done. I have a bunch of things like that — and I may take some time this weekend to get them all squared away, so I can have a freed-up schedule next week — well, freed up of the things that have been hanging around — they’ll very likely be replaced by another ton of stuff, starting Monday morning.

Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), some of the folks in my group will be traveling next week, so I’ll have the chance to run things a little more like I’d like to see them run. It’ll give me a chance to un-cramp my style. At least, that’s what I’m visualizing. I get to run things for three days. Again, this needs preparation. Goals, visualization, self-talk, and — perhaps most importantly — arousal control.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those Big Four components of Navy SEAL mental training, and it makes more and more sense each day. Obviously, I’m nowhere near their level of performance, and the “threats” I react to on a daily basis are mostly manufactured by my flawed perception and reactions, not the real (shoot-to-kill) world at large. But the effect of these “threats” is similar — it still feels like life and death, sometimes. And what makes it even more stressful is logically knowing that these are not a big deal, but my body is telling me they are. It can make a person crazy, it can.

So, work it out, work it out…

  • Goal-setting
  • Mental rehearsal
  • Self-talk
  • Arousal control

I feel like God/the universe/the cosmos/fate put these in my path, so I should really make the most of them. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, shall we?

Oh, look – the day is waiting… time to make the visualizations into reality. Enough rehearsing. Time to live.

Goal for the day… and the evening

Thinking about the Navy SEALs #1 component of mental training: Goal Setting, I have been focusing on very specific goals today:

Make it through this meeting.

Make it through another meeting.

Make it through this conversation in one piece.

Make it through lunch without snapping at my annoying neighbor.

Make it through this meeting.

Make it through another meeting.

Make it through this conversation with my boss without sticking my foot in my mouth.

Make it through another meeting… and another… and another.

Make it through the last meeting of the day.

It’s been a really long day, but dadgummit, in less than an hour, my work will be done, and I’ll be free — to sleep.

Navy SEALs Mental Training Video


The “Big 4” Components of Navy SEALs Mental Training

  1. Goal Setting – pick a goal, a “small chunk” of an overall goal, and focus on meeting it
  2. Mental Rehearsal (visualization) – see yourself doing what you going about to do, and see yourself succeeding
  3. Self-Talk – keep positive to override the negative effects of the Amygdala
  4. Arousal Control – use long, slow breaths to quiet down the effects of fight-flight

Now, to see how I might use these same principles in combination to improve my own responses to perceived “threats” in my life…