How Positivity Improves Your Performance

December 3, 2014

Have you ever rehearsed a long piece and felt like your energy had nearly run out, but then, somehow your body made it through the final sequence of choreography? While dancers’ abilities are certainly high on the superhuman scale, your stamina and strength may not be 100 percent responsible. According to new research from the University of Kent in the UK, positive subliminal cues can help athletes continue on significantly longer. 

In the study, endurance athletes who were shown positive cues in the form of action-related words, like “go” and “energy”, or visuals of happy faces kept exercising longer than those who were shown sad faces or words than didn’t encourage action. A word of encouragement from your rehearsal director (“keep going” or “more energy”) or a quick smile from a fellow dancer may be key in helping your performance.

The good news is you may benefit from these cues without even realizing it. Just being in a positive studio environment can help you thrive. Why? The researchers noticed results after they showed the athletes the action words and smiling faces for less than 0.02 seconds on a digital screen that was layered with other images. The athletes’ conscious didn’t even have to identify the cues to show improved stamina. Company camaraderie may have just taken on a new meaning!