Wellness Institute Blog
Most of us want to achieve the highest possible level of performance at what we do, whether it be in our career, our relationships, our hobbies, or even in our personal development. An imposing impediment to that goal is performance anxiety: “choking up” just when free flowing confidence is most needed. We have discussed some ways of recognizing and overcoming that obstacle in previous posts.
Now we want to address the next step up beyond treating performance anxiety, and that is Performance Enhancement. There is a growing body of research related to this field, and hypnosis is center stage in much of it.
Performance enhancing techniques are both passive and active
It's the new year. And with the new year, comes new year's resolutions. However, we all know that the hardest part about new year's resolutions isn't starting them, but keeping them going. Staying up with your new year's resolutions is, primarily, an exercise in your ability to break old habits and create new ones.
Breaking Old Habits vs. Creating New Ones
There’s a huge difference between these two attitudes. Breaking old habits sounds like it will require force, maybe even violence. If I dare to break the old habit, there are going to be shattered pieces to clean up. It feels like to stop eating the foods that seduce me, or to stop smoking, just might break me. And generally, we use fear of consequences and guilt or shame to break old patterns (“I don’t want to get fat” or “I hate my body when it’s this size” or “I’m such a wimp, I just have to find the willpower to stop smoking”). These are forceful tactics, and sometimes maybe even violent. And I usually end up feeling deprived, agitated and restless.
Creating new habits sounds like an adventure. It might even be fun. Creating anything calls on the best in me, my ingenuity and imagination. When I am creating something new, I feel optimistic, engaged and excited. And generally, we are motivated by excitement and anticipation, curiosity and passion (“I really want to be a size 8” or “I love my body and I want to treat it with respect” or “This is not a contest of wills between wanting to smoke and wanting to quit – I am clear about wanting fresh air in my lungs”). With this approach I usually begin to feel hopeful and eager to proceed.
Of course, the two approaches are intricately related, because one must loosen the attachment to an old habit before the new one has any room to replace it. But things seem to work out better when my emphasis is on creating the new while acknowledging the need to let go of the old. And clarity about what to create is as simple (although it’s certainly not easy) as answering the question, “What experience am I really looking for in my life?” Don't make it a resolution that you "should" want or what other people tell you to want.
How does cognitive therapy compare to hypnotherapy in releasing these negative thoughts?
Many people have spent thousands of hours and dollars going to therapy to try to remove their life-long, self-defeating thought patterns. If you are one of those people, perhaps you are aware of low self esteem, deep down feelings that you are not as good as others, or that you don’t really deserve to be loved or to succeed. Or perhaps you keep running up against self-destructive patterns in your life such as procrastination, ambivalence (can’t make a decision) or perfectionism. Other people find themselves desperately needing to be in control of others or of situations in order to feel safe.