Do you have problems with…
- focus or concentration?
- being able to banish nerves on command?
- Being able to think in a compelling, constructive and positive manner?
- Being able to remember facts?
- Being able to prepare for tests and exams?
Are you a sportsman/woman who needs to remember set manoeuvres, e.g. show-jumpers or dressage riders?
Your problem may be nothing more than an inability to still your mind and allow your thinking to switch from a more analytical (conscious) form to a more relaxed (unconscious) form. This state of calm focus has several labels, including peripheral vision, the learning state, the teaching/coaching state and, not forgetting its original Hawaiian version, Hakalau. I like to think of it as an ideal state, one which can be performed quickly and effectively, for a multitude of scenarios.
- Pick a spot above your eye line in front of you. Keep focussing on that spot, taking in all the colours, textures, light/shadow and really focussing in. Keep going for about 20 seconds.
- Now allow your vision to extend slightly, so that you are looking at the spot and about 30cm either side, slowly take your vision out a little more and more until you can’t focus on the spot, but you can see your hands if you stretch your arms out level with your shoulders.
- Now stretch your vision even wider. Stretch your awareness in your imagination to as far around you as you can. Now you’re in peripheral vision.
If you start to think about any fears or other negative thoughts, you will probably drop out of peripheral vision; your eyes focus as you consider such thoughts or feelings. Try it!
Now, take your time and bring your vision back to peripheral. You’ll start to relax a little more and push those negative thoughts away. Your mind cannot hold peripheral vision and negativity at the same time. Each time you start to feel those unhelpful thoughts, quickly go into peripheral vision to dispel them. As you become adept, you’ll be able to use it in the very first flurry of nerves, then, unconsciously, you’ll do it before nerves even surface. Practise often to become accustomed to using the technique! Remember, there is an adage that we become what we focus on; let’s focus on positives!
Once you are doing this with ease, you’ll find that not only can you maintain a more confident outlook, but that your ability to commit facts to memory is boosted. The unconscious mind is in a state that is conducive to absorbing information. When recall is required, simply attain peripheral vision once more to remove hindrances such as negativity and allow your unconscious mind to deliver the answer!