We have more than 60,000 thoughts a day and 70% of them are negative. Here’s a way to become more aware, rewire your brain and think more clearly.
MVP stands for meditation, visualisation and positive self-talk. Practicing them regularly helps us think more clearly and gives us more energy.
Developed by Todd Astle and Innerspin, each exercise offers specific benefits, so doing all three gives you all-round value. If you’d like to learn to combine them into one exercise, watch our short video on being your best.
Meditation is systematically focusing on one thing. The many benefits of meditating include:
Here’s how to start meditating:
Start by meditating for two to three minutes a day. If you can only manage a minute, that’s fine. The important thing is to meditate regularly.
Make meditation a habit by tying it to your routine . For example, you could meditate as soon as you wake up in the morning, after brushing your teeth, or before bed. Once it’s a habit, you can meditate for longer, say five to ten minutes or more, whatever suits your lifestyle and schedule.
You can also meditate many times a day to focus on the present, think more clearly, and feel calmer.
If you like apps, these two might inspire and guide you.
Free Guided Meditations(external link) — Ten Percent Happier
Guided Meditation(external link) — Insight Timer
Visualisation is picturing yourself successfully doing something in the future. Imagine yourself taking practical steps to prepare and rising to the challenge.
Visualisation helps you build the confidence you need to perform well and increases your chance of success. Many top athletes and high performers visualise.
Here’s how to start visualising:
Spend about a minute visualising, at any time before the event, even 10 minutes or an hour before.
When you first start visualising, the picture may be fuzzy, but it’ll get clearer with practice.
If you like apps, this one might inspire and guide you.
Guided Visualisation(external link) — Insight Timer
If you want to do something else to get into the best headspace before the event, you could try box breathing.
Relax in four minutes with box breathing(external link) — First Steps
We all talk to ourselves in our heads, consciously or not. Our inner voice affects what we feel, think and do.
Invest time to learn positive self-talk. Talking to ourselves positively gives us confidence and self-belief, which are crucial to doing well and being happy. Talking to ourselves negatively tears us down and holds us back.
Here’s how to get better at talking to yourself. (Adapted from 7 Steps to Positive Self-talk.)
7 Steps to Positive Self-talk(external link) — The Wellbeing Works
You can’t improve something you’re not aware of. Make notes of what you’re saying, if you like. If you’re negative, ask yourself what evidence you have for thinking that way.
Describe what you want to achieve. Make your statements short, believable and focused, like “I am good at sales”. Saying “I am” is more helpful than saying “I want to be”.
Visualise your success regularly.
What makes you think negative thoughts? If certain people are constantly negative or often put you down, minimise time with them if possible.
Spend time with positive people who empower you if you can. Think about people you admire and how they are positive.
When everything feels too much, stop. Ask yourself, “What’s most important right now?” Do that thing, then move to the next most important task.
Fear and doubt can stop us from being our best. Next time you think “What if something goes wrong?”, ask yourself “So what?” Try to see the situation more positively. For example, can you learn from the experience, get new ideas or meet new people? Can you see mistakes and failure as steps to success?
Being positive is much easier when you focus on good times instead of bad ones. Go ahead and acknowledge difficulties, but don’t dwell on them. Life is made up of good and bad times, and sometimes bad times make good times possible.
Think about why you enjoy what you do. Remember the good times and see if you can make them happen again.
Return to the “Performing under pressure” e-learning series for more on how to stay calm, think more clearly and have more energy.