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Your Brain and The Power of “Rehearsing” Your Future

Have you heard the phrase “fake it till you make it”?

Actually, it’s a science. It’s based on some of the latest findings on the brain. It involves using the brain’s power of imagination to “rehearse” optimal performance outcomes, your goals, dreams and future.

It works. Sports psychologists use this approach, for example, to train top athletes and champions to achieve optimal performance.

What does this have to do with your personal life and relationship? You can use this same power to achieve your goals, start a new healthy habit, or let go of an unwanted one.

Let’s be clear. This does not mean to walk around pretending your life is changed. That would be denial, not helpful at all. The idea is to capitalize on the mental imagery your mind is capable of producing, to visualize your future, the way you want it, and to make it an optimal sensory experience, one that involves all five of your senses. It’s sometimes called a “mind movie.”

It works for several reasons:

1. It can clear some old limiting beliefs.

Your thoughts are a powerful energy linked to your beliefs. They produce imagery in your mind that shape and direct the chemical reactions in every cell in your body. When a positive emotional energy state displaces a negative one, it has the power to permanently transform limiting beliefs. This process directs your subconscious mind, the part of the brain that controls the autonomic functions of the body, to create new neural pathways, ones that will be open to support you in the future that you want to create.

2. It can clear negative thinking.

Your thoughts are an inner dialogue. Scientists speculate an average of about sixty thousand thoughts cross your mind a day, most of which you habitually repeat to yourself. In many cases, you have been repeating them from childhood! These thoughts, or “self-talk,” are what cause emotions. While events may trigger painful emotions, they never cause them. The real cause of your emotions is what you tell yourself. “Rehearsal” is a process that can put you, rather than your emotions, in charge of what you think, and do, and how events unfold.

3.  It can eliminate negative emotional associations.

Negative associations block change. When you think about realizing a satisfying career, a great relationship or a trim, fit body, what emotions do you feel inside? Many persons react with painful feelings, such as disappointment, guilt or anxiety. Why? These images can be reminders of what is not yet achieved, past mistakes, or even failures. This then produces negative associations. Thus, each time you see someone with a fit, healthy body, for example, you feel disgust or unhappy inside. The result? Your subconscious mind interprets this as something you want to avoid – a clear miscommunication! It’s just the way the brain works. Its operating system is hardwired this way. With “rehearsals” you can correct limiting associations, and be in charge of the process.

The bottom line? Painful feelings can really get in the way of your dreams. You need to know how to protect your goals and dreams from any “interfering” emotional states. One way is to energize your behaviors and chart your momentum in a certain direction by “rehearsing” your future.

If this sounds interesting to you, here are a few suggestions to get started.

  • Set aside at least 5 minutes once each day to visualize, in a relaxed state, your desired future in detail, as if it already exists.
  • When limiting thoughts surface at any time, breathe into them and let them go — and smile confidently.
  • As you “watch,” envision the vibrant colors, hear the sounds, feel the emotions and sensations in your body, even smell fragrances with your nose, and tastes in your mouth.
  • This is your “mind movie” and you get to live it in these moments as if you are there, completely and fully present in body and mind and emotion.
  • The key is to make sure this elicits pleasurable feelings of joy, happiness—gratitude—inside you as you do. Smile. Feel grateful.
  • Think of this time as a fun and delightful retreat, a transformational exercise you look forward to jumping into to rehearse the life and relationships that you are consciously taking action to create in your life – speedily coming your way.

When you feel pleasure “rehearsing” your future in the present moment, what you are doing is telling your subconscious mind—the part of the mind that runs the entire body—that this is the reality you desire.

Just believe it, feel it, and be open to prompts for what actions to take toward it, small or big. A few moments each day will add power to your dream.

Your Brain and The Power of “Rehearsing” Your Future

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2011). Your Brain and The Power of “Rehearsing” Your Future. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 17, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Jul 2011
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