Take a moment and imagine that you are flying like a bird, soaring above New York City. Imagine the sounds which you can hear from up there, envisage the colors and details of the city below you. Visualize the buildings, the people, the streets all the details. Imagine the sunlight above the buildings, the light breeze that touches your body and the perfume above the skyline.
This is mentalization.
It is the act to use your mind to create images, sounds, scents, textures, everything, but only in your mind.
Many studies have been conducted showing that to our brains there is no difference between what it perceives through the senses and what is imagined. A famous study looked at the brain of athletes and saw that doing exercise or imagining doing the exercise lit up the same areas of the brain. Further, when looking at the muscles of people thinking about doing the exercise a similar development was witnessed. You don’t believe it? Checkout this article from New Scientist.
Now in a more recent study has shown that this is not all the effects we can witness. Scientific American has written an article about two studies which link mentalization with surgery recovery.
So why is this relevant to us?
Since the 1960s we have used this technique to our favor in our teaching. Mentalization is one of the key tools we use in our technical classes. It is part of the rules of execution, our students become familiarized with this technique from their very first class and use it to their advantage throughout their lives. Some of our students mentalize physical performance, others outcomes of meetings and others even business deals. We have not conducted a formal scientific study, but our empirical observation has led us to conclude that their success rate increases significantly!