Saturday, 28 February 2015

Why Am I Depressed?

It’s the unthinking question millions of people ask each day to a friend, a significant other, a family member.

The answer may be surprising because it doesn’t make sense. When a person is suffering from depression, the answer is more often than not, “I don’t know,” or worse, “Nothing.”

Depression Doesn't Need a Cause
Some people mistakenly believe that a person can only be justified in their depression if there’s a cause or reason for them to be depressed. If you’re unemployed, just suffered the loss of a relationship or loved one, or just found out you have a life-threatening disease, people react more kindly. They see one’s depression as justified and appropriate.

But for the vast majority of people with depression, there is no reason and there is no cause for their feelings. Depression is so often painful and difficult for people because others don’t understand this fact. For many, if there’s no impetus driving the depression, there’s no reason or need to feel depressed. For someone with depression, this feels devaluing – that they shouldn’t feel the way they feel.
Depression is Involuntary
But for most people who suffer from depression, it is not something that’s voluntary or something that one can just “snap out of” or “stop being depressed.” If it were a simple matter of “stopping” the depression, there’d be no need for therapists, antidepressants, or any other treatments. Depression, like any medical disease, requires professional care to be treated properly. It does not just “go away” on its own in most cases, no more than a broken arm will go away if you just want it to.

Depression is a serious concern for nearly 1 in 10 people at some point in their lives. Nobody asks or wants depression in their lives, yet it can’t just be denied or explained away with rational thought. Depression is a sense of emotional sadness and hopelessness that pervades an individual’s body. People with depression can’t just wake up one day and say, “No more depression for me!” On the contrary, many people with depression have trouble even taking one step out of bed.
Depression is Real but Treatable
While depression can’t be shooed away like a temporary bad mood, it can be effectively treated. Modern depression treatments include antidepressant medications and short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy that helps a person learn new coping skills and better ways to address irrational depressive thoughts. Having people around someone who is depressed, people who are supportive and caring, can make a world of difference.

If you know someone or suspect someone you know who may have depression, you may not fully understand what they’re going through. That’s okay. They only need you to understand they’re dealing with a real, serious condition that affects everything they do every day. Treat them with care and respect, and be there for them when they need a helping hand. That can make a tremendous difference in their lives.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hypnosis and Pre - Post Surgery

by Peter Mabbutt, FBAMH

Despite the fact that we live in a health-conscious society, cardiovascular disease is still one of the major causes of premature death. These days we drink too much; we eat too much (of both the wrong and right kinds of food); and smoking is still endemic. Compounding this we are encouraged to lead increasingly sedentary and stressful life styles. All this represents bad news for the heart as these activities place it under increasing strain and could result in the development of cardiovascular disease.

If recognized early enough, drugs and a change of life style are all that's needed to provide an effective route to management and recovery from cardiovascular disease. However, for some the only route to better health will be through surgical intervention.

For anyone facing the prospect of surgical intervention this will be a major event in their life. Despite the fact that the techniques of cardiovascular surgery have advanced immeasurably over recent years, as with all surgical interventions there is a risk of death. It is therefore not surprising that patients faced with surgical intervention go through a whole range of feelings and emotional responses. Research has shown that 60% of patients hospitalized for heart disease experience elevated levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, the heart responds unfavourably to these emotional states, thus placing extra demands on an already damaged cardiovascular system.


Psychology of surgery

For anyone being told that they need to undergo a surgical procedure this will undoubtedly provoke a stressful response that may increase when the surgery is considered to be major or life saving. For many, this can bring on a bereavement reaction as they will experience a whole range of losses: a loss of health; a perceived loss of control over their life; and a possible loss of independence. Also, they are likely to experience guilt over the harm their lifestyle may have caused their body. Compounding this may be an increased awareness of their own mortality as they are going into hospital for an operation that will save their life. Fear is another factor that features, as many patients may be worried that they will not survive the surgery or, alternatively, that they may be damaged mentally or physically in some way by the surgical procedure.

It must be remembered that psychological disturbance also occurs during the post-surgical period. Even when surgery has been successful many patients will enter a period of post-surgical depression. Many factors may be responsible including a continued perception of lost health due to post-anaesthetic nausea, pain, and worry about the healing process. Patients may also experience a profound loss of control over their life. During the early stages of recovery they may be bed-bound and therefore reliant on others for cleaning, feeding and drinking. Compounding this they will experience a loss of privacy with regard to bodily functions, as urine and faecal output need to be monitored immediately after surgery.

Many patients will experience concerns over what they will and won't be able to do in the future as a result of their heart condition and surgery. Unfounded concerns that they will be unable to engage in the sexual act can lead to psychogenic sexual dysfunction. The belief that they may damage the heart during coitus can lead to performance anxiety with all its consequences.

Often patients will exhibit concerns that they will be unable to give up activities proscribed by their medical-care team such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and eating certain foods.

If left untreated all these psychological factors could provoke a negative mind-set. Many studies have shown that a patient's outlook toward upcoming surgery as well as to the post-surgical period can greatly affect recovery outcome. Essentially, patients with a poor outlook may have a poor prognosis (it has also been shown that those patients who are socially isolated and come from the lower-income bracket are also at greater risk post-surgically). However, those patients showing an optimistic outlook recover more rapidly and show an increased survival rate.

Studies have shown that those patients undergoing hypnosis as an integral part of the pre- and post-operative procedure demonstrate an increased rate of recovery and decreased levels of post-surgical infection.

Hypnosis and Surgery
As the patient should be set up for success from the beginning, pseudo orientation in time needs to be included during each session, taking the patient to a time in the future when they have successfully recovered from the operation. It goes without saying that the therapist must ensure that the pseudo-orientated future is realistic and achievable. As well as this, ego boosting should also be included during each session to help the patient create a positive mind-set and to enhance inner resources.

Reframing approaches should not be ignored. It is an undeniable fact that the patient’s lifestyle may have led to the reason they are in hospital at this time. Reframing the situation so that the patient perceives that they are taking control of their future thus ensuring a speedy recovery as well as living a long, healthy and productive life will be of obvious benefit to the therapeutic process.


Induction of Hypnosis

A word needs to be said about the induction process used with cardiovascular patients. Any induction will suffice. However, as part of the therapeutic process it is important to teach the patient how to relax, so progressive relaxation approaches should be the therapist's primary consideration as this will indirectly provide a format for the patient's own approach to relaxation.


Dealing with Fear

Many patients will understandably have a fear of the process of surgery and of their stay in hospital. Imagination techniques (a preferable term to visualization as asking someone to visualize implies that they have to 'see' and therefore does not take into account the other modalities of representation) should be used to take them through their hospital experience and beyond: being admitted to hospital; the pre-surgical stay; going to the operating theatre and receiving their pre-medication; undergoing the operation; their time in the recovery room; being taken back to the ward and their post-operative stay; leaving hospital; and making a full recovery.

should show the patient coping calmly, confidently and with appropriate self-control. Again the therapist needs to be realistic with regard to the outcome. Self-hypnosis should be taught and the patient encouraged to practise these imagination techniques. If the patient has specific fears with regard to their stay in hospital, for example needle phobia, these need to be dealt with as a separate issue.


Life style Issues

Many patients presenting for cardiovascular surgery will be advised to make life style changes. These may include reducing their alcohol intake, stopping smoking or reducing their weight. Here hypnosis takes an obvious role and standard approaches are used. For the patient there is the added incentive of the increased health risk should they not change which will provide a strong motivator that can be used during therapy. Care should be taken, as some may view these lifestyle changes as a short-term adaptation and may subsequently revert to old behaviours once they have recovered (a possible indication that they are experiencing denial with regard to the seriousness of their heart condition).

Stress management should be taught, as stress responses will place an added burden on an already damaged heart. The use of self-hypnosis should be included and encouraged, as the trance state will reduce any stress-induced increase in cardiac activity. It is also known that the trance state will reduce blood pressure (high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk-factor in coronary disease).


Post-surgery

In many cases pre-surgical hypnotic intervention will help to prevent post-surgical depression. However, biochemical changes occurring after the use of anaesthetics may result in the patient developing an endogenous depression. This state should be dealt with appropriately.

A positive mental attitude towards the healing process needs to be encouraged. Various approaches can be taken with an emphasis placed on healing the body: asking the patient to imagine the heart healing and becoming more healthy; imagining the wound healing, the tissue and bone knitting together with the minimum of scarification; imagining the body protecting the wound, the immune system guarding the incision and preventing infection.


Pain may be an issue and the full range of pain control techniques should be employed: glove anaesthesia; imagination approaches; control room of the mind; dissociation.
The therapist should also help the patient to maintain recommended lifestyle changes.
Cardiophobia
Some patients develop cardiophobia: an abnormal awareness of their heart beating. This can provide a focus for neuroticism after any heart event or surgical intervention, as the patient may believe that naturally occurring changes in the beating of the heart herald a catastrophic heart event. Consequently they become over-protective towards their cardiovascular system and this may lead to a sedentary lifestyle (that in its own right will be damaging to the heart). Desensitization approaches and reframing should be used.

Regression
A word of warning with regard to the use of regression with patients who have experienced a heart event needs to be given. Do not take them back to the event as they may re-experience it with inevitable consequences. If carrying out a diagnostic approach, regressing the patient year by year, avoid the year in which the event occurred for the same reason. If possible regression should be avoided.

Conclusion
Hypnosis can play an important role in cardiovascular surgery by helping to create a positive mental outlook for the surgical patient. This, combined with helping the patient undertake and maintain life style recommendations, can significantly increase the prospects of a full and healthy recovery.

http://www.lcch.co.uk/hypnosisarticles/hypnosis_surgery2.htm

Friday, 20 February 2015

VIDEO Synesthesia: Hearing Colours, Seeing Sound


Monday, 16 February 2015

The Art of Asking Questions

At one time or another, most of us have been disappointed by the caliber of the questions students ask in class, online, or in the office. Many of them are such mundane questions: “Will material from the book be on the exam?” “How long should the paper be?” “Can we use Google to find references?” “Would you repeat what you just said? I didn’t get it all down in my notes.” Rarely do they ask thoughtful questions that probe the content and stir the interest of the teacher and other students.
So, how do we get them to ask better questions? What if we start by asking them the kinds of questions we hope they will ask us? Here are some suggestions that might help us model what good questions are and demonstrate how instrumental they can be in promoting thinking, understanding, and learning.
Prepare questions — Too often we ask questions as they come to us. Allen and Tanner write in an excellent article on questioning, “Although many teachers carefully plan test questions used as final assessments, … much less time is invested in oral questions that are interwoven in our teaching.” (p. 63) How many questions of the kind that generate discussion and lead to other questions come to us as we are teaching? Would more of those thought-provoking questions come to us if we thought about questions as we prepare and contemplate the content for class?
Play with the questions — Questions promote thinking before they are answered. It is in the interstices between the question and the answer that minds turn. In that time before answers, questions can be emphasized by having them on a PowerPoint or on the board and by encouraging students to write the question in their notes. Maybe it’s a question that opens class and doesn’t get answered until the end of class. Maybe it’s a question that gets asked repeatedly across several class sessions with any number of possible answers entertained before a “good” or “right” answer is designated.
Preserve good questions — If a question does generate interest, thoughtful responses, and good discussion, that’s a question to keep in some more permanent way than simply trying to remember it. Good questions can be preserved along with the course materials for that day. Finding them there next semester enables us a revisit and possibly improve them. Do we need to be reminded that probing questions about the content, not only encourage students to think, they are good grist for the mill of our own thinking?
Ask questions that you don’t know the answer to — Students tend to think that teachers have all the answers. Could that be because we answer all their questions? Marshall makes a point worth remembering. Typically we ask students questions that we already know the answer to and if any of you are like me, while the student is answering, I’m quietly thinking how much better my answer is and how I will quickly deal with the student’s answer so I can then give my answer. Asking a question you don’t know the answer to lets students know that you still have things to learn. Asking students those questions and then thoughtfully attending to their answers also indicates that you just might be able to learn something from a student. Could this be a way to motivate them to ask better questions?

Ask questions you can’t answer —
 These questions are different from those you don’t know the answer to. It’s possible to find answers to those questions. These are the questions currently being confronted within the field or area of study that haven’t yet been answered. As of this moment, the answers are unknown. A question that can’t be answered is inherently more interesting than one that can be answered. Are there theories or research findings that suggest answers? Are some of those more likely than others? Could the answer be something totally unexpected? What if a student thinks she might have an idea about a possible answer?
Don’t ask open-ended questions when you know the answer you’re looking for — Sometimes students offer answers but they aren’t the ones the teacher wanted to hear. If you aren’t getting the answer you want, don’t play the “try to guess the answer I have in mind” game. It reinforces the idea that the question has one answer that the teacher thinks is the right or best answer. If the teacher has the answer, students are quick to conclude it’s the definitive right answer, and that makes it an answer that they won’t spend any time thinking about.
We ask questions to get students interested, to help them understand, and to see if they do. We’d like for our questions to promote lively discussions during which thoughtful perspectives are exchanged, different views presented and new ideas are born. To accomplish that goal we need to plan and use question in more purposeful ways. If questions start playing a more prominent role in our teaching, the reward may be students asking questions we’d find interesting to answer and they’d find more interesting to discuss.
Shouldn’t an article on questioning end with one? It should, and Allen and Tanner have a great one: “What would you predict would happen in your classroom if you changed the kinds of questions that you ask?” (p. 63)
References
Allen, D. and Tanner, K. (2002). Approaches to cell biology teaching: Questions about questions. Cell Biology Education, 1, 63-67.
Marshall, G. (2006). From Shakespeare on the page to Shakespeare on the stage: What I learned about teaching in acting class.” Pedagogy, 6 (2), 309-325.
- See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/art-asking-questions/#sthash.ab2OpZ9d.dpuf

Thursday, 12 February 2015

How People Learn

Learning is simple, right? It’s the process of moving information from outthere — from a textbook, a company report, a musical score — to in here, inside our heads, and making that knowledge our own. Parents, teachers, and other experts are full of sensible-sounding advice about how to learn well: select a particular place to study and use it consistently; concentrate on one subject at a time; focus intensively on the material just before a test or an important meeting.
But it turns out that learning is not so simple and obvious — all of the above instructions, for example, are flat-out wrong. Our own experience with learning — or our kids’ or our employees’ — shows us that learning can be a tricky thing: we read and we memorize and we practice, and still the information doesn’t always stick. Under the pressure of an exam or an audience, our hard-won knowledge does a disappearing act. Even social scientists have been confounded by learning. For more than a century, psychologists have constructed elaborate theories of how people learn that are intricate, elegant—and mostly useless.
And then, about ten years ago, researchers started to do something radically different. Using the tools of neuroscience and cognitive psychology, they began paying attention to how the brain actually learns. This new field has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade, generating academic programs, professional journals, research conferences and reports of scientific findings by the thousands. What they have discovered was a surprise: the brain has its own set of rules by which it learns best — and they look nothing like what we imagined. From these rules, some remarkable conclusions follow:
• How we learn shapes what we know and what we can do. Our knowledge and our abilities are largely determined not by our IQ or some other fixed measure of intelligence, but by the effectiveness of our learning process: call it our learning quotient.
• Everyone can learn more effectively. Successful learning doesn’t require fancy schools, elaborate training sessions, or expensive technology. It just takes an understanding of how the brain really works.
• We need a learning revolution: in the schools, at home, and in the workplace. Although the science of learning has made enormous advances over the past decade, its discoveries have remained restricted to academic journals and conferences. It’s time to liberate this knowledge for the good of learners everywhere.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Kingdom Within

The Kingdom Within
Excerpted from Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

What if the world truly is magical? What if we were created to be co-creators with all the power to manifest miraculous lives if we but believed so? What if we were our own cheerleaders, full of encouragement and rah-rah support? A friend of mine, Terri Marie, wrote a marvelous little book all about being our own cheerleaders. The book, entitled Be the Hero of Your Dream, suggests that we are usually good at encouraging others but then tell ourselves all the reasons why we cannot succeed. What if we believed that we were created with every good possibility in our hands to be the very best of ourselves, to use our unique talents and abilities in ways that might astound many, to have happiness, peace, balance, and harmony in every day in everything we do? What if our Father in Heaven looked upon us with the love and blessings that human parents have when they behold their newborn child and with His all-good, all-powerful, and all knowing best offered all that He had to us?
I believe that God, or whatever term you are comfortable with for the Creator, has done just that. Remember Mark Twain’s story in his book Letters to Earth? The point of the story was, hide God where mankind will never look. Hide Him within man—the last place he will ever look!
While I was lecturing abroad, a wonderful man approached me with some questions. He had resigned his priesthood two years earlier because he felt inadequate. He recognized that he had provided help to many but was disturbed that he himself was not worthy to give good advice. His thoughts were not all pure, and besides, he too was born a sinner.
We spoke for some time. I asked him several questions. In the end, he admitted that no one could be worthy according to that which he had been taught. Like many, he had been trained to believe that the Grand Organizing Designer had created him imperfectly. He was born a sinner, here to endure with courage and faith the suffering that he would experience. Further, this very suffering was necessary for him to prove his devotion and love for God. Since he had been a Christian priest, training for twelve years as such, I asked him about some of the words of Jesus. According to Jesus, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” Further, “My Father has many mansions. Why would you use my words and not do my deeds? All that I do, you will do and more. If you had faith but as tiny as a mustard seed.” All of these quotations in context clearly suggest that God dwells within all of us. They also suggest that Christ consciousness is what we should all seek to achieve. Indeed, Jesus states very clearly that we are all his brothers and sisters. Nowhere does Christ suggest that we are poor pitiful creatures created to suffer. The message of Christ is love!
From here our conversation entered the domain of Christian mysticism and this led to the “I AM” presence. “I am that I am,” spoken by God to Moses. The Great I AM presence is the kingdom of heaven, or God/Christ consciousness within. (This is a study worth undertaking but one that is beyond the scope of this work, so I suggest “The I AM Discourses” published by St. Germain Press if you wish to pursue this further.) I was then asked, “Is this the reason that all of your affirmations on InnerTalk programs begin with ‘I am?’”
My mind flashed back to a small bookstore in Reno, Nevada, where nearly 20 years before I was asked the same question. “Actually,” I answered, “the research shows this is the best way to state the affirmations. I do find it interesting that it is the declarative, ‘I am.’” We then spoke of prayer. The ancient texts were often interpreted incorrectly. The word ask, when translated correctly, should read declare. Declaring is creating, not petitioning. At length we had traveled around the world and examined many religious systems. We agreed, whether Christ consciousness or Buddha consciousness, whether from the Upanishads or the Bible, whether Lao Tse or Zoroaster, all the great living religions taught love at their core. Suffering as some creation made imperfectly and therefore unable to avoid sin, begging for salvation and so forth, was not the teaching. No—to the contrary, the GOD within created all with the ability to manifest miracles, if they but had faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.
It was then that the lights went on in the mind of my new friend. “Oh, I get it. When you teach people to suffer, even indirectly, you claim suffering for them and yourself. How could I have missed that? No wonder I always felt guilty and ashamed.”
This gentleman has since made some remarkable changes in his life. He still helps people, but now he empowers them to help themselves. Through forgiveness, releasing guilt and blame and therefore shame, today he teaches the unlimited power within. All of this begins by taking responsibility for everything in our own life.
Earlier I suggested an acronym for fear. Let me suggest a couple more: False Evidence Appearing Real and Forget Everything And Run. You were not created imperfectly to fear the world or anything else for that matter. You are, as Dyer puts it, “A God experience walking.”



Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Pressure of staying at the top

For many years athletes dedicate themselves to the path of elitism within their respective sport. Hours upon hours of practice, military like regimes combined with mental preparation and focus assist an athlete in achieving their goal. Finally the hard work pays off and they are recognised as the elite within their sport. Now another chapter in their career begins as they fight to retain that elite title. This can be hard for many athletes as being at the top brings about additional demands which could have an effect on mindset and focus. This article aims to discuss the demands on athletes which could potentially influence their status within their respective sport.

Pressure can be described as a feeling which is created by one’s reaction to performance within sporting situations, potentially influencing the mind (Paccagnella, 2012). Even though pressure is a concept which is primarily created by our minds, it can have both positive and negative effects. Athletes can use pressure to gain an edge in motivation, concentration and enjoyment (Paccagnella, 2012), or it could have a detrimental effect and stress can influence an athlete’s mindset. Pressure can be either internal (expectations, repeated errors) or external (crowd effects), therefore it is crucial for athletes to have coping strategies and mechanisms in place. It is important that when a situation of pressure arises, athletes have the mental tools and capacity to cope.

If athletes are to deal with pressure effectively, there are documented concepts which could be beneficial. A potential reason for athletes reaching the top and maintaining this position could be related to their ability to love and embrace the pressure (Jones, 2008). For many athletes this is a common reason for not only playing sport but for also being extremely successful within their sport due to them stepping up when the pressure is on. For example, Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down in a Champions League final to win the game. To remain calm and collected in extremely high stressful situations is a critical trait of elite athletes (Jones, 2008). Pressure poses implications for coaches, and it is important that high pressure situations are encouraged in their training as this will better prepare them for actual real life pressure scenarios. Furthermore, this training would benefit their responses to these situations. Moreover, an athlete’s mindset will be just as important in these situations, posing implications for psychologists. It is essential for athletes to focus on themselves when it comes to managing pressure (Jones, 2008), eliminating potential distractions.

Another concept to assist athletes in managing and dealing with pressure is viewing it as an illusion. Ultimately, it is essential for athletes to realise that pressure is a feeling acquired from their perception of a situation, therefore could be argued as nonexistent and constructed by an athlete’s own thought processing (Paccagnella, 2012). This is of great benefit to athletes, as this means pressure can be controlled. Therefore having a mindset that can deal with pressure is invaluable. This is even more critical when an athlete has an unassailable goal of staying at the top! It could be argued that pressure becomes more of an issue at this stage in an athlete’s career due to the fact that reaching the top is automatically accompanied by additional demands (Kreiner-Phillips & Orlick,). Expectations, training and rest, sponsors, fans, competition and personal relationships are factors which could affect an athlete’s success (Kreiner-Phillips & Orlick,). At this phase in an athlete’s career it is important they are surrounded with the correct support and guidance to move forward positively. It is at this stage that a plan be implemented to take control of the situation and ensure distractions do not interfere with an athlete’s training and mental status.

To help athletes deal with potential pressure and remaining at the top, training and using the competition is an ideal way of progressing. For example, David Beckham has had a hugely successful career and is still playing at the highest level today. He has played for many of the top clubs around the world but it is his insatiable desire to remain at the top that has served him well. Quite simply, he managed this most effectively during his time at LA Galaxy. The height of their season differs from the Premier League and therefore during his time off, he kept on top of his game by training with teams in the Premier League. By using other teams’ resources and potential competition Beckham has stayed at the top of his game, mentally and physically, more successfully than some of his professional counterparts, potentially a reason why he is a world renowned icon, not to mention an extremely successful ex England international.

This leads me on to an effective advantage an athlete can give themselves above others using marginal gains (extra components or assets which can enhance an athlete’s or a team’s chances of success by breaking elements down in an attempt to improve them). Beckam’s achievement during the off season has allowed him to benefit from marginal gains; something Jenson Button believes is a reason for success. In F1, new components can assist in helping the driver obtain a 0.1 – 0.2 second advantage (Button, 2013). However, marginal gains could also include the fitness, nutritional and psychological edge an athlete can achieve over their counterparts. These are vital components required to stay at the top; moreover the support an athlete receives for these components can be even more influential. For example, with the additional demands of winning to stay at the top, psychological support can assist the athlete in comprising a plan which encompasses a manageable schedule, still providing time for quality training, rest and personal life alongside sponsor demands and other engagements. Needless to say this would be hard work; however staying at the top is arguably harder than getting there. This requires the athlete to push their limits. This shouldn’t faze the athlete by any means, after all they have had to be dedicated, committed and focused alongside overcoming adversity and challenge previously. Overcoming adversity many times before could better prepare them for the challenges which they face at this stage in career. For any elite athlete and player, marginal gains could be perceived as the edge which separates the good from the great.

“The greatest pressure comes only from myself” (Button, 2012). This statement could apply to every professional athlete. However the athletes who learn to control this pressure and channel it into their performance are the ones who prevail into the elite. This provokes an implication which is necessary for successful performance, focus only on what the athlete can control. “Don’t over-analyse; it’s important to recognise your own strengths and to maintain your own belief” (Button, 2012). By doing this they begin to reinforce their strengths and improve on their weaknesses through training which in turn assists with building mental superiority, gaining control of performance and building on previous successes.

It would appear incredibly simple for an athlete to continue with the processes they have been implementing on course to the top, however this is always easier said than done, hence a support network is essential. It is crucial that the athletes, in conjunction with their support network, reviews the successful components which helped them achieve elitism and try to implement these within the post winning programme in order to continue their success. From a psychological perspective, these include finding the self-belief they had prior to winning, relaxation and “Autopilot Connection” (Kreiner-Phillips & Orlick,), also referred to as either “The Zone” or “Flow”. Following on from this, research suggests athletes set subsequent goals post winning period and approaching the next competition as they did the last was deemed a successful attribute for continued success (Kreiner-Phillips & Orlick, ). An implication of this for psychologists is to ensure that they assist the athlete in approaching the next competition with the same focus and belief as the last, and in this process, ignoring distractions, purely focusing on process and performance rather than outcome.

Even though pressure could be perceived as an illusion, there is no doubt that athletes will always encounter pressure in their sporting career. As much as they could convince themselves it is not there, at some point, the pressure could mount. Hence it is paramount to assist the athlete in developing effective coping mechanisms. If the athlete can utilise these mechanisms, the world is their oyster. Have a game plan, focus on that, keep thoughts positive and in perspective, and finally challenge yourself!