Visualization is an important personal development tool. Just as affirmations
can help you motivate yourself and focus better to achieve your goals
so can using visualization
or mental imagery.
Although it has only become really popular as a personal
development technique since the late seventies and early eighties,
we as humans have been using it since the beginning of time.
Whenever we have an idea or notion to do something we visualize it
first. For instance, if we're hungry and want to eat we picture
different food possibilities; whether we want to cook a meal or go out
to eat, and whether or not we want company at our meal. When we have a
function to attend we picture what type of outfit to wear and where we
might shop for it.
What is Visualization?
It is the use of the imagination through pictures or mental imagery
to create visions of what we want in our lives and how to make them
happen. Along with focus and emotion it becomes a powerful, creative
tool that helps us achieve what we want in life.
Used correctly it can bring about self-improvement, maintain good
health, help you perform well in sports,
and accomplish your goals in life.
In sports, mental imagery is often used by athletes to improve
their skills by picturing the achievement of a specific feat, such as
hitting or shooting a ball, skiing a hill, swimming or running a race,
among other things.
Using it as a technique invariably results in a much better
performance and outcome. This also holds true in business, or in life,
such as in delivering a speech, asking for a raise, or any other
situation that requires preparedness and forethought.
How does it work?
Visualization or mental imagery works because when you imagine
yourself performing perfectly and doing exactly what you want, you
physiologically create neural patterns in your brain, just as if you
had physically performed the action. The thought can stimulate the
nervous system in the same way as the actual event does.
Performing or rehearsing an event in the mind trains it and creates
the neural patterns to teach our muscles to do exactly what we want
them to do.
In the case of competitive sports, not only are exceptional
physical skills required, but so is a strong mental game. Most coaches
preach that sports are 90% mental and only 10% physical. That's why
so many athletes train in visualization or mental imagery along with
their physical routines.
To be effective, like any skill, mental imagery needs to be
practiced regularly. The four elements to mental imagery are
relaxation, realism, regularity and reinforcement.
When To Use Visualization
Success. See yourself
performing skills at a high level, achieving your goals, being who you
want to be and living the life you want.
To motivate. Envision yourself
achieving your goals vividly to remind yourself of your objective and
what you need to do to reach it. Many athletes, actors, and singers
"see" and "feel" themselves performing a routine,
program, or play several times perfectly in their minds before they actually do it.
To familiarize or set the stage for a performance/event.
Mental imagery can be used effectively
to familiarize yourself with the surroundings before an event, such as
a competition site, a racetrack, a stage or a difficult play or
routine prior to a competition.
To do a run-through. Athletes
and performers often do a complete mental run through of the key
elements of their routines. This helps them to focus and eliminate some
pre-performance jitters, thus making them more comfortable when the
time comes to compete or perform. It also serves as a
warm-up or mini rehearsal.
Visualization is a wonderful tool for preparing for anything, and everything.
It invariably results in a higher level of performance.
How to Visualize What you want:
Go somewhere quiet and private where you won't be disturbed.
Close your eyes and think of the goal, mood, new behavior or
skill, you want to acquire.
Take several deep breaths and relax.
Visualize the object or situation you desire in your mind as
clearly and with as much detail as you can.
Add emotion, feeling, and your senses to your vision.
Practice it at least twice a day for about 10 minutes each time.
Persevere until you succeed.
Maintain positive thoughts and a good attitude throughout.
The Benefits of Visualization
Helps you focus better in order to achieve your goals