Article By Beth Wood, Director of Mind Fitness and co-author of Unlock You, with Andy Barker
To achieve your goals in 2019 – master the art of visualisation! It requires no fancy equipment and can be practiced from the comfort of your own home.
Visualisation has been used in the sports industry as mental ‘training’ for more than two decades. It is employing the power of our imagination to help us change – which has also been used by NASA, the emergency services and a whole host of major companies from all over the world.
Visualisation and Modern Science
New MRI scanners has meant that we now understand why this process works. Our brain does not distinguish between real and imagined experiences.
If an athlete goes into an MRI machine and imagines themselves running the perfect race, then not only will the same parts of their brain light up as if they were actually running, but the same muscle groups will also engage.
This means that we can use visualisation to programme success. We can use running a race as practice – as it has a definite beginning, middle and end. Before you begin – get yourself comfortable on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take two deep breaths and close your eyes.
The Visualisation Process
Really concentrate on the detail at each stage – the clearer the picture you envisage the more effective the process. Start with three key moments, then go back and build an ‘experience’ by joining the three together.
You are a hundred metre sprinter. We’re going to spend a minute on each of the three moments:
- the beginning of the race as the starting pistol goes off
- the middle of the race when you have just broken into the lead
- the end of the race where you hit the tape and win
For each spend the minute creating all the detail that you can.
Moment 1: You are on the starting blocks. The gun has just gone off. What can you see, smell, hear and touch? Perhaps there is a taste in your mouth. Be specific, if the track is brown, what shade? For how long can you hear the echo of the gun? Who are the other runners?
Moment 2: You are halfway through the race and have just taken the lead. How exactly is each part of your body feeling? Are the crowd cheering? Is the stadium full?
Moment 3: You win the race. By how much and from which other strong competitors? Does the crowd erupt? Does exhaustion hit you or could you run it all again?
Now take these three moments and keeping the level of detail run it through like a film, joining the three into a race, a journey. This is the first mental movie that you have created through visualisation.
Find your goal
Now try the process with a goal that means something to you. Once you’ve found an important goal – spend a little while choosing what your 3 key moments are.
Spend a minute on each moment, filling in as much detail as possible, as you did with the race. Extend the moment into a movie, filling in the gaps. Be aware of all physical sensations and emotions you are feeling.
Your movie probably lasts a minute or two. The more often you play it through the faster it becomes your brain’s expected outcome. Not only will it rewrite your brain to expect and accommodate success but it is guaranteed to put you into a really good mood. Imagine how happy our athlete would be if she won a race at least once a day!
And when you are doing the visualisations stay alert as your unconscious is likely to send up practical ideas of what you can DO to achieve the change. Visualisation will put you into the best possible state to take an exam, hit a golf ball or get a promotion. But it can’t do this if you don’t enter the exam, buy a golf-club or apply for the job. Look out for the opportunities – they should be easier to spot, then follow them with all your heart.
Unlock You is out 7th January, published by Pearson, priced £12.99. To find out more go to: Amazon: Unlock You