When someone exercises, they are physically training their body to become stronger and healthier. Have you tried training your mind? You should view mental training just as important as physical training. There are benefits to each when practiced correctly.
So, what is visualization or creative visualization as some people refer it? Visualization is purposefully using the cognitive parts of your brain to create imagery. This practice can be done with your eyes open or closed. Think about the world around us. It is full of stimuli and distractions that influence our thinking. We can reshape our lives by being consciously responsive about our thoughts. The use of visualization provides clarity and will change the way you think significantly which will ultimately lead to a better, more successful life.
It is rather uncomplicated to begin applying visualization. Every day you need to focus on your personal goals. Visualize those goals and convert them into images. Next, alter those images into positive ones. By focusing positively, your feelings or emotions will change which subsequently benefits psychological, physical or social effects. Visualization, in essence, is repeating and rehearsing those images repeatedly daily. As well as positively utilizing these images, it’s very beneficial for you to think of your goals as being already accomplished. So, what you want, is already what you have. Act how you would everyday if you had already achieved those goals. Why does this work? Your subconscious differs from your conscious mind in that it cannot differentiate reality from imagination. Think about the different effects this can have on your psychological state. If you suffer from anxiety, for example, you can use visualization to affect your mental state which will result in decreasing your anxiety. It is the same with physical pain. Visualize hopefulness and comfort to alleviate pain.
There are typically 4 stages of creative visualization. At first, you need to be cognizant of your imagery. Next, you will need to maintain those images for a significant time-frame to properly inspect the images already present. Explore the images and put them into perspective. The final stage would be the conversion of these images. Any negative images that you generate need to be altered to positive ones. It’s putting into practice the power of positive thinking while attaching an image to it. It sounds easy enough, but mental training takes time and effort to master. Changes are not meant to happen overnight.
There are specific techniques that can be used to become healthier, stronger, happier and more effective in life. Have you ever fantasized about something, yet never thought you could be in that position? This is where mental imagery comes in. Imagine success in that specific goal. Live it everyday as if you’ve already achieved it. Many scientists believe that we can imagine doing something in our minds, such as physical exercises, and you will get better at them. Mental workouts affects your health in many ways. It can alleviate stress, lower your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate! Some studies have actually shown that athletes who practiced specific exercises mentally can actually gain as much strength as those who did them physically.
Other helpful tips are using all 5 senses, practicing, and even writing it down. When you were in high school, did you feel like an outcast or not part of the popular club? Well, compare that to situations in your life today that’s relevant. One thing to always keep in mind is to envision yourself as the popular one. Not the one looking in from the outside.
Visualization can be applied to every area of your life. Many athletes and celebrities use visualization with amazing results. This also applies to billionaires, CEOs, entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, etc.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, started out as a professional bodybuilder. During that time, he had absolute belief in visualization. He had a specific person in his mind of what kind of body he was trying to achieve. The more he mentally practiced, the more he grew and worked, where eventually he became one of the most recognized bodybuilders to this day.
Oprah Winfrey had the same results, but with different goals in mind. She grew up in poverty. As a child, she began repeating to herself time and time again, “My life won’t be like this, it will be better. She is now one of the wealthiest women in the world. She had her own talk show where she showcased numerous success stories from positive thinking. Some words of wisdom she shared with her fans include: Create the grandest vision possible for your life, because one day, you become what you believe.
Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medalist in the female skiers competition, mentally practiced every day. Not only would she physically practice her runs, but she went over them repeatedly in her mind 100 times a day. This allowed her to never forget the course which resulted in a course that she completed almost too easily.
There’s an example that has been used consistently because it proves visualization works. There was an experiment conducted that involved a group of basketball players. He measured the ability of the players to successfully shoot free throws. All of the players were divided into 3 separate groups. The first group physically practiced free throws for 20 minutes on a daily basis. The second group was instructed to only visualize making the shots, but they weren’t allowed any physical practice. The third group was told to do neither. The results? In a word, mind-blowing. The group who only used visualization not only improved, but was nearly as good as the physically practiced players. Another example is a violinist who suffered from auditory hallucinations. She developed her musical writing skills by playing a specific piece of music in her mind every night. As a result, she was able to suppress those auditory hallucinations. This is just a sampling of the successful use of visualization.
It’s important to remember that visualization paired with physical practice, will allow you to improve yourself at a phenomenal rate. Visualization is easy enough, but you are required to practice consistently to deliver the best possible results.
Other tips include relaxing, taking deep, full breaths and close your eyes. Also, find a quiet area away from any distractions. You decide the best time of day for you. Release tension by focusing on each part of your body one at a time. Start from your feet and move upward. Once you are completely relaxed, imagine an important goal of yours. Put it into perspective until it is firmly in your mind. Next, imagine getting closer to your goal, such as, presenting a speech in public. Imagine yourself walking up to the podium, retrieving your index cards, and beginning your speech. Picture yourself reading the speech in front of a large crowd repeatedly without any errors or slips. Do it as if this was your career. Do it as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Finally, start to cool down slowly. After you’ve completed this, allow the image to slowly fade and open your eyes when ready.
Ask yourself this? Are you happy and content? Or are you miserable and depressed? Have you ever dreamed of a completely different life than you’re living now, but never believed it would be possible? Many people observe their neighbors or friends and become envious because of what they might have or their career. Whatever the case may be, there are droves of people who are envious of someone. The reason for this article is to inform you of the effect visualization can have on your life. You can be happy and content. You can have what those you envy have. It’s ultimately your decision. If you truly want to change your life in every area or just a few, visualization gives you the tools and answers to achieve it. It’s up to you to take that first step that will impact and change your life dramatically.