The power of visualisation
The power of visualisation
Science is beginning to take the power of Visualisation very seriously. Many famous successful individuals have in the past stated how Visualisation helped them get to where they are today. However, to many of us, that can be seen as a throwaway line without much substance to it.
But we were wrong. Buddha said, 'what we think, we become' and he was correct.
One of the best examples of the powerful benefits that Visualisation can have is Serena Williams. Serena has said that 70% of her game is in mind and believes that Visualisation helped her become the successful tennis star of all time.
Funnily enough, when Serena Lost to the 19-year-old Bianca Adreescu, the teen said in her post-match interview that she had been visualising winning ever since she was 12 or 13.
"I find it helpful; I believe we create our reality within our mind."
Science is now backing up what many already believe. To understand why it works, think of it like this. When you picture yourself achieving something and when you achieve that thing, your brain can't tell the difference, so if we are generating and solidifying neural pathways in the brain through Visualisation surely it can help us achieve the goals in real life?
What does the science tell us?
We know for a fact that when, for example, we imagine lifting our right arm, the part of the brain in charge of raising the right-wing will 'light'. Studies have shown that when we visualise using certain regions of the body or completing specific tasks, the corresponding areas of the brain responsible for those tasks or actions receive increased blood flow.
Some more interesting proof
A Harvard Study by Dr Alvaro Pascual Leone taught a simple five-finger combination of piano notes to a group of people which they were asked to play over and over for five consecutive days, 2 hours per day.
A different group were asked to imagine playing the same notes in the same combination as the first group for the same amount of time.
The researchers found that when surveyed each day, there was little or no difference between the brains of the participants in the two groups, i.e. the brain activity in the playing group and the visualisation group were the same!
Other practical implications
If someone suffers a stroke, it can be debilitating. A clot shuts off the blood supply to some areas of the brain, meaning the cells in the immediate area can die, meaning a loss of function in that area. If a stroke patient visualises using the affected area of the body, it can increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the corresponding region of the brain and help some of the affected tissues to recover.
Visualisation has proven to be an especially useful tool for many gymnasts. By visualising successfully carrying out a routine or sequence of movements correctly, it showed to help improve their timing. It has also been suggested that it could help improve flexibility and possibly help concentrate strength.
High stress, high focus Careers
Studies have shown that surgeons that practised imagery demonstrated reduced self-reported stress and decreased objective stress. The same goes for police officers. You see that Visualisation works for all groups of people and in all kinds of situations: it helps you to achieve your goals, to imagine your future, to deal with stress and much more.
How do I do it?
Firstly here's what you don't do. Don't tell your brain in a thousand words what you want your future to look like; it will get bored and switch off, understandably.
Instead, picture the exact moment you are completing your specific goal for example if you want to be the worlds best footballer, imagine walking up to collect the ballon d'Or or if you're a tennis player, imagine receiving the Wimbledon trophy.
It helps if you can imagine it from different angles, the smell, the taste, the feel etc. Some believe it helps if you close your eyes while others like to write it down or some will even meditate on it. Saying daily affirmations to help reinforce the goal in their mind.
Either way, it's essential to repeat this mental exercise as it will reinforce the relevant pathways in the brain and hopefully move you closer towards achieving your goal.
If you can imagine the scene, it gives your mind a clear picture of what you want to achieve.