How to think yourself better

A new Australian study suggests that the faster speed that athletes achieve when taking performance-enhancing drugs is all in the mind. The study compared athletes on growth hormones with those given a placebo. Those taking the dummy pills sprinted faster, jumped higher and were able to lift heavier weights than those taking the hormones. The results imply that if you think you will perform better, you really will. That's not news to many professional athletes who for years have used creative visualisation to boost performance. "If you visualise being stronger, running faster or winning, you are priming your nervous system to do just that," says Dr Aimee Kimball, the director of mental training in sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. "Studies have found that the method can enhance physical performance significantly, sometimes by 20 per cent or more."

What to do: Visualise your forthcoming race or match. See yourself win with ease, confidence and coordination, in as much detail as possible. Feel the appropriate emotions as you play and win, and get a sense that you really "know" you can do it.

Imagining longer menstrual cycles and less menstrual pain may be able to actually alter your cycle, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Twelve out of 15 women who used imagery for three months lengthened their menstrual cycles by nearly four days. They also slashed their perceived levels of premenstrual distress in half and reported fewer mood swings.

What to do: Focus on the area around your womb. Imagine any bloating, tension, heaviness or pain dispersing in a watery mist. Imagine the area immersed in a cooling light of whatever colour springs to mind.

Source - Independent

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