Build a better self image, feel more confident and look your best with this natural Pilates performance enhancer
Pilates has a lot to do with physical performance, but have you ever thought about the impact your mindset has on achieving your goals? We’ve all heard terms such as ‘you’re only as old as you feel’, ‘its about mind over matter’, or ‘fake it till you make it’. What all of these sayings have in common is the underlying potential of a powerful mindset and positive focus no matter the circumstances. You may be 80 years old yet fit as a fiddle and able to dance as though the swinging 60’s never left! Not quite convinced? Let’s delve a little deeper…
Why so glum chum?
Although responding negatively some of the time is actually a part of our brain’s protective measures, continuously playing ‘devil’s advocate’ while participating in your Pilates training can leave your mind focusing on thoughts of failure, distraction and a lack of motivation or energy. None of these is helpful to your progress.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology investigated the effects of negative thought patterns, for instance ‘worrying’, on performing a task. Subjects had to divide objects into two categories. Yet those that reported a high feeling of distress/worry (described as ‘50% of the time’) struggled as the intensity of the task increased. The results: Negative thoughts actually hinder your cognitive ability to function normally and think clearly.
Furthermore, negative thinking not only makes you feel bad, it literally changes your brain. Your brain creates neural pathways or connections, relaying information based on your life experiences. Along with these pathways come associated feelings. Once these pathways are well established, it is increasingly difficult to train your thoughts to follow a new pathway with a preferred emotional association, in this case a more positive focus.
Think positive, be positive
On the contrary, a positive mood such as excitement, joy and happiness, has been proven in multiple studies to enhance concentration, capability, problem solving and ultimately confidence. All of these are essential tools when trying to achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself along your Pilates journey. By making sure you go into each Pilates class with a positive mindset, you are creating and establishing neural pathways filled with positive, passionate associations. In turn this will make it easier for your mind to focus on this feel-good fuel, and reap the rewarding results!
Try this simple practical exercise to demonstrate the power of what you focus your mind on. Look around the room you are in. Take 2 minutes to focus on all the grey items you see around you, committing these to memory. Now close your eyes. With your eyes closed, recall all the blue items you saw in the room. A little challenging isn’t it? Quite similarly in life and in your Pilates training, focusing on negative outcomes can leave you completely amiss to all the positive outcomes you are achieving. Where your focus is, there your results will be also.
So, go into your next Pilates class with a positive mindset and ‘I can’ attitude, and give yourself the greatest chance of success and happiness!