Mental rehearsal has been used by athletes and other peak performers for many years. It’s a proven method of psychologically preparing yourself in advance to handle challenging situations.
You can use EFT to enhance your mental rehearsal because it is an excellent way of smoothing out any emotional blocks or reactions that could get in the way of your improved performance.
This process shows you how to use EFT to work on changing the way you act in challenging situations such as: interviews, difficult conversations with family members, unpleasant medical procedures, etc.
You can also use it to improve your performance in something you are already pretty good at and would like to get better at.
What do you want to change?
Bring to mind an upcoming event that you would like to handle differently.
As you think of this upcoming situation ask yourself:
- What outcome do I want from this situation?
- How would I like to be in this situation? Do I need to be more relaxed, more determined, energetic, receptive, out-spoken, or something else?
- What qualities would I like to exhibit in that situation? What emotional or psychological states would help me get the results I want?
Notice that we are focusing on emotional / psychological states rather than material resources. Perhaps the situation could be solved by winning the lottery or getting a new boss. If you can’t rely on either of those then you will have to figure out some way of being in that situation that makes better use of your internal resources.
To demonstrate the process we are going to use the example of a mother having difficult conversations with her teenage son. Those conversations start well but often turn into rows.
Realising that she could trade him in for a different model, she wants to be able to be more calm and assertive as a way of dealing with him.
Rehearsing A Better Way
This process requires that you imagine the situation from two different points of view
- As if you were in the situations – seeing everything through your own eyes as if you were there.
- As if you were an observer in the situation – looking at yourself in that situation from an external perspective.
Sitting comfortably imagine seeing yourself dealing with that situation almost as if you were watching it at the movies or in a theatre.
From this detached perspective you are going to watch that “other you” as it practises being in that situation in a new way.
You don’t need to be good at visualisation for this part, just having a sense of what is going on for that other you is enough to work on.
Tapping As The Director
Imagine that “other you” being in that situation in a new way, demonstrating those desirable qualities you want. Watch how that other you deals with that situation now. As you “watch” this situation unfold you may become aware of something about the way that other you is handling the situation that isn’t quite working.
In our example, if you are watching yourself having a difficult discussion with your teenage son and that “other you” is starting to shout and it’s not helping; start tapping for that other you, using a setup phrase and reminder like this:
“Even though she is shouting, I accept her and how she feels” – use “she is shouting” as the reminder phrase.
Notice that the setup phrase is designed to bring relief to that “other you” who is in that situation. (You could think of this as doing surrogate tapping for yourself.)
Do a few rounds of tapping until that other you settles down.
Watch the interaction again, how is it working out now? Perhaps that “other you” has a sharp tone of voice that you don’t like. Tap for that as well:
“Even though she has a sharp tone of voice, I accept her and how she feels” – use “sharp tone of voice” as the reminder phrase.
Do a few rounds of tapping until that other you gets some relief.
Repeat this process of tapping out the kinks in the way that “other you” handles that situation.
Stepping Into The Action
When it looks like that “other you” at is doing a good job from the observer’s perspective, imagine floating into that “other you” noticing how it feels to be in this situation now.
Re-run the experience from the inside as if you were in the situation, seeing, hearing and feeling what is going on through your own senses.
What is your sense of what is going on now? Are there any unhelpful feelings that you are aware of now that you are “in” that situation.
Tap out any unhelpful thoughts or reactions that are going on.
In our example of the teenage son perhaps you are feeling frustrated by his attitude or responses:
“Even though I am frustrated by his attitude, I accept myself and how I feel” – use “frustrated by his attitude” as the reminder phrase.
Notice we’ve changed the wording of the setup phrase to acknowledge that we are in this situation.
Tap those reactions out.
Rerun the experience from the inside. Any other reactions? Tap those out in the same way.
When the imagined run through feels OK. Go back in your minds eye to being the observer watching that other you run through the experience in this new way.
As you look at it again from this observers perspective is there anything else that can be adjusted in the way that other you is handling the situation?
If there is, repeat the rehearsal process: tapping out the unhelpful emotions and reactions of that other you over there, then stepping into the experience of that “other” you and trying out this new way of being from the inside.
When you are happy the way you are handling this situation is as good as it is going to get. Take a moment to think about the next time you will be in that situation.
How is that for you now?
Back in the real world
When you are next in that situation in reality, pay attention to two things:
- What is different? What has changed and what is easier than it was before? What progress have I made?
- What needs to be done? As a result of this new way of doing things are there new problematic emotional responses or behaviours? If so take the charge out of that experience and rehearse your next step.
It would be nice if one application of a process completely resolved an issue, but many issues that involve other people are quite tangled and may require repeated applications of the work to make a big difference over the long term.
This process is a good add on to the EFT Ping Pong Process.
This may seem like quite a long process but there is a good reason for persisting with it.
If you want to have a different experience in your life you need to do something different. Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is a definition of insanity.
This approach gives you a chance to practice doing different things in private with the minimum of risk before taking those changes into the big wide world.