Maybe you’ve seen a great athlete prepare with one or a few rituals before the performance. It can be anything from turning a ring on a finger to tie the shoes in a certain way or a certain order.
Most athletes (I can not say that this applies to everyone) does this because they have created triggers. It is a big part of mental training to be able to set your mind and feelings in a state that you want them. To be able to recall that certain feeling or state of mind at will, where and when you can achieve your best performance.
I am no master in the art of mental training, I have only read a few books (and there are a lot of ’em), but I like the concept of triggers, and have used it before I even knew what it was, or had a name for it.
Some of the triggers I created before I knew what it was:
- The Chinese sign for “I” tattooed on the inside of my right wrist, to always be in my view to remind me of who is the most important person in my life and remind me to take care of myself (which I haven’t always been good at)
- Before I start a writing session for some book project, I open up my latest notes in the notebook, I clean away irrelevant things on my desk, I close all unnecessary applications on my computer, and make myself I nice cup of tea or coffee.
A trigger, per say, is something that helps you set your mind to a chosen mindset as you expose yourself to your trigger. In above examples one trigger is an image that helps me remind myself of something each time I see it (which is very often) and in the second a series of things bound together as a ritual to get me where I want to be.
How can you create a trigger for you?
First of all, I can only recommend, if you are interested, that you dive deeper into mental training and triggers. I have only Swedish literature to referens as of now, but I will keep an open eye to see if I run into some English literature on the subject.
The mechanics behind triggers is quite simple. When you feel the desired feeling or are in the desired state of mind, you program your trigger. If it is looking at a picture or doing something physical. A little like Pavlovs dogs. When you want to experience your state of mind or feeling, repeat your physical move or look at the picture. It may take some practice to get it to work, so keep on repeating it until you get your desired outcome.
You don’t have to be an elit athlete to gain something positive from this, you can use it in your everyday life, in any situation where you feel you want to take control of your mindset and/or feeling(s) instead of letting them control you.
To make an excellent example.
You want to calm your mind, and enter a state of calmness.
Your trigger to this might be:
- Go to your meditation place
- Light a candle or incent
- Put on some soothing music or a guided meditation session
- Sit down on a pillow or lay down in a relaxed way on a soft blanket
- Close your eyes and begin your medidation
This is a ritual that helps you focus on your meditation. A trigger! 🙂