This week a team of health experts (or on the quest to be) led by Dr. Nancy Murdock; professor and Department head at University of Missouri – Kansas City. I was invited by Nancy join her team along with Rachel Coats; soon to receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and Monica Oh; Ph.D psychology student at UMKC. Together the 4 of us are in the midst of teaching students attending Kansas City Ballet Summer Intensive, a series called Finding your Healthy Dancer Self. We learned a lot from this experience and we hope that the students learned something too! Here is one exercise we shared with the students, which I thought you might like too! The exercise was on positive visualization. Use it before an event that you are anxious or nervous about. Research shows that with practice, positive visualization can benefit you both viscerally and mentally. I hope you find it useful!!
Benefits of Visualization:
- Enhances learning and motivation
- Enhances self-confidence, helps to visualize success
- Create coping strategies in stressful situations
- Enhance focus, concentration and self-discipline
- Visualization practice empowers and centers you for performance, allowing you to enter deeply into the present moment and harness your true potential.
Here is a script for you to follow: Give it a go!
Relax and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths. Take another breath and just let it go gently, but as you do shrug your shoulders and let your arms relax.
Now you are feeling calm and relaxed. Your whole body feels relaxed and heavy.
Now allow your mind to drift to the day of the final summer program showcase performance (or fill in your own event). Allow your mind to drift over the different movements until you get a feeling, a tension, some sort of emotional reaction.
Imagine yourself performing the combination to the best of your ability. See, feel, and experience yourself moving through the actions in your mind as you would like them to develop. Freeze frame any move that does not feel right, rerun in slow motion until it feels right.
Now, imagine the dancer you want to be, and see yourself moving with ease. Focus on how clean your lines are. Continue to visualize how much control you have with every combination you perform. You can see it in your mind, you can hear the music playing, and you can feel your body executing the sequences with detail.
Picture now, that you have finished the performance. See yourself feeling confident and gratified. You are feeling proud of yourself for your accomplishments. This feeling of success and accomplishment is so wonderful, you want to perform again just to experience it all again.
Enjoy the feelings of success.
Begin to wake up your mind and body…. returning your awareness to the present.
Wiggle your fingers, feeling your hands and arms reawakening.
Wake up your feet and legs by wiggling your toes.
Shrug your shoulders… turn your head from side to side…. feel your body waking up.
When you are feeling awake and alert, you can return to your usual activities, feeling energized, motivated, and confident.