I think it’s safe to say we all know how tough the Navy SEALs are. If you don’t, then you need to listen to my interview with Mark Divine.
Those who pass SEAL training demonstrate an almost superhuman ability to keep functioning in extremely nerve-racking situations. In other words, they keep functioning efficiently and effectively when the normal person would cry “uncle!”
At one point though, the Navy had problem with SEAL candidates. As you can imagine the selection process for SEAL candidates was excruciatingly tough. An even when they had a group of super qualified prospects, they were losing over 75% of them during the first weeks of training.
Navy psychologists looked at the failures and found something interesting.
The prospects who failed didn’t lack physical ability, it was mental.
The ones who didn’t make the cut couldn’t control their instinctive reactions to stress. They simply froze or folded when the challenges got too demanding.
So the Navy decided to research the concept of ‘mental toughness.’
After hundreds of hours of research the SEAL Command Psychologist, Commander Eric Potterat, found four key mental strength techniques that are now being taught to SEAL candidates.
He found that these mental strength techniques can be taught to any person willing to learn and improve. These mental strength techniques would increase an individual’s performance under extreme stress levels where most of us would just shut down and curl up in the fetal position.
This “mental toughness” program was so effective that it increased the Navy SEAL pass rate by over one-third.
These skills are now being taught to college students facing exams, fighter pilots, and key executives in some companies.
Here are the “Big Four” mental skills taught to Navy SEALs:
- Take Charge of Your Self Talk
- Arousal Control
- Mental rehearsal or Visualization
In future posts I’ll go over these plus a few more. And for now we’re going to look at mental rehearsal or visualization.
On a side note….all the above and the other techniques I’ll be discussing are all based in NLP. NLP does a lot more than ‘swish’ away bad habits. NLP and help you enhance your personal performance so that you can face ANY situation.
How often do you imagine success doing something you may be anxious about? Take a moment now, and give this a try.
See what it will be like when you do that thing successfully and easily. Notice how your body feels and what you hear and smell. Do this over and over again and you are providing your brain with extra experience of success.
Your mind is the most important tool in your arsenal. Visualizing yourself in a violent situation prepares you for the real thing because the mind cannot distinguish between real and imagined memories. World-class athletes use visualization as important part of their training.
When it comes to tactical athletes and first responders an individual can utilize visualization for a variety of crime and survival scenarios to program themselves to automatically respond in similar situations.
This is a simple process you can do alone almost anywhere (except driving a car or heavy machinery).
Visualize in your mind (your imagination) a series of crisis situations and experience yourself winning and defeating whatever threat you’re facing.
Really experience yourself in the situation, with all senses (sight, touch, sound, smell, taste), be fully engaged as if you were really there. The more real and detailed your imagined performance, the better your results will be.
The keys to proper crisis rehearsal are specificity and repetition. Use very specific threat situations and countless repetition of the tactics and action you use to safely take control of the encounters.
Crisis rehearsal is both a psychological (mental) and physiological (skills) drill where you’re actually instructing yourself to use all that you have learned through visual imagery. This is an integral part of the mind-body partnership and is crucial in being prepared so that you can exit any encounter safely.
When you combine the physical survival skills you’ve mastered along with the crisis rehearsal visualization exercises you will that much more prepared. When—not if, you do find yourself in a life-threatening situation, even if you’ve never actually experienced it in real life, you won’t waste time thinking about the tactical moves you’ll need because your body and brain already know what to do. You would have done it hundreds, maybe thousands, of times in your mind.
Stimulate Your Imagination
Here are few questions to answer when visualizing:
- What would you be thinking?
- How will deal with fear?
- What can you say?
- How could the situation be prevented or de-escalated?
- What possible actions can you take?
- What escape routes are available?
- Where can you go?
- How can you be injured?
- How will you act despite injury?
One of the most important points of this exercise is to come up with several plans of response already programmed. Even when you are in a similar situation, you won’t have to think about what to do; you’ll already be ‘programmed.’
Skill training is one of the more important elements when it comes to mental rehearsal. Here you can visually go through specific skills that need additional work. You can use visualization before physical skill training and if the situation allows during skill training.
Also, crisis and skill rehearsal doesn’t apply to ‘combative’ tactical athletes; it applies to ALL first responders including EMTs, Fire etc.
Often trainees in EMS aren’t reminded that they might get injured and require self-rescue. This is approach isn’t ‘real-world’. A EMT can get shot or stabbed while engaging in a life-threatening encounter and be seriously hurt.
Mentally rehearsing emergency first-aid procedures you might have to perform on yourself after you’ve won the fight and taken the bad guy out of the equation is a very good idea.
Key Areas for Mental Rehearsal and Visualization
- Sub modalities
- Goal Setting
- Association and dissociation
Practice make perfect – Mental rehearsal is a skill, the more you practice it, the better you will become!
Information and Tips
- Our mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined
- Mentally rehearse your performance the way you want it to be, to stimulate that behavior in your neurology. This gives you a mental representation of what to do, even of you’ve never done it physically before. See, hear, and feel the performance to make it real.
- An ideal way to rehearse performance during downtime, especially recovering from an injury
Set Time Aside to Practice the Following
- Adjust the sub modalities of your mental rehearsal until the experience feels ‘real’
- Rehearse switching between associated (looking through your eyes) and dissociated (looking at a movie) states
- Set and fire positive anchor states to go with your mental rehearsal
- Identify strategies used for different states, skills, and thinking by matching eye accessing cues with verbal description
Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.