Back to Blog

How Mental Rehearsal Can Help You

#highperformance #personal development Apr 16, 2024

These days, the world can be a scary place, with wars, climate change, social unrest, political divisiveness, and all together too much hatred, expressed in social media and elsewhere.  And it would be so easy to get caught up in ruminating about the state of things that we can neither control nor influence to any degree.

When I find myself thinking about all this turbulence, and feeling worried or anxious, I need to remind myself to focus on the things I can actually control:  my thoughts, feeling, and behaviors. What about you?  How often do you realize your thoughts are somewhat or largely negative? And what do you do about it?

For me, that thought process can lead to a place with a litany of “not enough:” not good enough, not smart enough, not capable enough, not confident enough, not courageous enough, and on and on. Have you ever been there?

I love this quote from Jon Gordon’s book, The One Truth. “You have these thoughts telling you that you aren’t enough, but they aren’t true.  What is true is that you are more powerful than your circumstances.  You are more courageous than your fears. Life is tough but you are tougher.”

Whenever you face the feeling that you aren’t enough, it is very helpful to think through other times when you felt that the circumstances were overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. And remembering that somehow, you got through it.  You’re still here. Maybe you even learned some valuable lessons or life skills in the process.

Recently, I learned about the skill of mental rehearsal. It is a process of preparing in advance for some of life’s inevitable challenges and obstacles.  Think about experiences you are likely to face in your life that will test your ability to cope. Then, think through how you will handle them.  What steps will you take?  What will you tell yourself? What positive outcome will you direct yourself toward?

Dealing with stress and overwhelm, even burnout are good examples of inevitable life challenges that you can mentally rehearse.  When you get stressed or overwhelmed, what will you do? For me, I need to get out in nature.  Take a walk on the beach or sit outdoors and breathe fresh air.  It may sound simple, but it works.

Your offset to stress or overwhelm may be physical, like mine, or it may be emotional, mental, spiritual, or social. Taking a mindful minute to breathe, praying, or calling a friend are all examples of recalibrating your system to cope and deal effectively with the situation.  It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just a quick fix that takes you out of your condition and into your body or positive mind.

Having a plan of action for those times when you face a challenge that would normally cause you to fight, or flea, or freeze is a great relief.  “I know what I will do when (not if) this happens.”  You are prepared, you are ready, you got this.

I believe a side benefit mental rehearsal is to build your confidence. When you feel ready, you feel competent and when you feel competent, you feel confident.  Remember, you are more powerful than your circumstances, more courageous than your fears, and tougher than what life throws at you.

These are lessons I learned as a high-performance coach, and as a result of the personal development I’ve worked on for years. If you feel that you would like to perform at higher levels over the long run, you may want to become a member of my high performance coaching community.  You can learn more about that here.

And if you know someone else who can benefit by learning about mental rehearsal, please share this post. 



Schedule a Discovery Session with Cheryl

Click to book your call