A recent article in the Atlantic Journal explained how eye movement therapy is being used as treatment for people who have experienced severe forms of trauma. This type of therapy is known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR.
Patients are asked to focus on a troubling image or thought. They are then directed to move their eyes back and forth quickly and allow their minds to go blank. (see the youtube clip below for more information)
A very similar technique used to help athletes shake out of negative thoughts during athletic performance is discussed in my book, See To Play. These negative thought loops can cause athletes to perform poorly.
Here is an excerpt from page 141:
"I would also like to add a technique here that I teach to athletes that uses visual noise to break up their thought processes on purpose. It is meant to be used at times when they realize that they are stuck in a negative thought pattern, such as when they are in an anger mode, in a slump, or feel themselves obsessing about something they shouldn’t during a game. This technique helps distract the thinking brain to get it out of its negative spiral. I tell them to look across the room at a wall about 20 feet away. Find two different spots on the wall that are separated by a distance of at least ten feet. They are to look at the spot on the left, then look on the spot on the right, back to the spot on the left and continue this back and forth as fast as they can. It is virtually impossible to continue thinking about what’s bothering you after about five to ten seconds of this motion. The visual information bogs down the brain. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to get a conscious thought going when you’re doing this. The key to making this technique successful in sports is to not go back to the negative subject that caused the problem in the first place, and to use the visualization techniques found in the next chapter to direct the brain down the right train of thought."
See To Play is full of cutting edge information geared to help athletes reach their genetic potential in athletic performance. This story illustrates another reason athletes should read my book and learn more about every aspect of their visual system.
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