Welcome to the Power of Visualization!
Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in 5 years. Where are you? Who are you surrounded by? What are you doing? What goals did you achieve? And, what goals do you have? You may be wondering, “Why am I doing this? What is the purpose of this?” Well, that’s what this blog is all about.
“If you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it.” – Oprah
You might have heard your parents, your teacher, your coach, and other adults tell you the exact thing as above. While at that time you may have rolled your eyes, you may have found it helpful to actually close your eyes and visualize. There’s no harm in trying something new, and especially one that is proven to help you with personal development and self-improvement.
With all the “personal development” and “self-improvement” words going out, you may be wondering “What exactly is visualization?” and “What will it help me with?” This blog will go over the power of visualization, the benefits and why it is significant in one’s life.
Visualization can feel like a hypnosis session. After all, hypnosis is based on manipulating thought patterns through suggestions. And hypnosis, meditation and visualization actually have similar neurophysiological profiles. Nothing is being done to you; instead, it’s you who is tapping into something deep within the brain folds, accessing your creative power.
Successful people all over the world use visualization to spawn dreams into reality realms. Visualization is just concentrated dreaming. It’s mind over matter. It’s constructing life from a space inside our brains.
When digging a little deeper, visualization becomes less about winning and more about self-improvement than anything else. With visualization, you can create a world built from your own energies and desires. There are so many reasons why it will help you grow as a person. And there are so many ways you can do it.success.com
So, without further ado, here is the power of visualization and why you should make it a habit:
1. Builds courage
There are many things in life which we feel terrified about doing, but need to be done anyway. These include going on stage for an act, presenting a speech in front of a large audience, going into a competition, and many more scenarios. We have butterflies in our stomach despite knowing that no matter what happens, we’ll be okay. We think, “Do I have to do this?” despite knowing that you committed to it. Visualization is one thing that can make fear disappear, and allow courage to show.
“Using visualization triggers hormones and synapses that make it easier to achieve those goals. When you’ve already envisioned the scenario, the real thing will feel familiar and much more feasible. It will be as if you’ve done it before. And inside your brain, you have.” (Success)
Take these three examples from Entrepreneur:
- Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight.
- As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world.
- Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before he ever took one in real life.
2. Makes you feel empowered/confident
Just like how visualizing makes you build courage, it also makes you feel more empowered and confident. Think about it. If you are imagining yourself making a speech in front of thousands of people, you’re not going to visualize you being nervous and stammering in front of the audience- you’re going to visualize yourself speak loud and clear about a significant topic so that you can tell your idea to the world. By imagining yourself doing a wonderful job, your mind is tricking itself to think that you will also do a great job when you actually present the speech. In order to feel confident and empowered, you must know that you are confident and empowered, which is exactly what visualization does to your mind.
3. Increases positivity
“Visualization brings moments of positivity in a world sometimes full of negativity. So often, people respond to dreams with statements like, How will you do that? or That’s going to be so hard to accomplish. And yeah, sure, it will be hard, but you’re totally up for the challenge. During a visualization session, you get to live out your dreams despite what others say. It’s an effective way to battle that negative voice inside your own head, too.” (success)
When you are visualizing, you are visualizing a future version of yourself. And, nobody wants their future version to be negative and in a declined state. Why would we imagine ourselves in a defeatist state? Instead, we imagine our future selves to be a better version of ourselves, with more hope, positivity, resiliance, empathy, and more. Thinking about ourselves in an improved medium would make us feel happy, as we are glad that we are improving ourselves and our minds.
4. Boosts creativity
“Visualization allows creative moments to exist, something the mind desperately needs. We tend to exist in scheduled spaces and confines of time. Fostering a practice that gives your mind a break from the mundane will be a relief to your psyche. Our brains need breaks—ones full of promise and fantastical visions, ones free from the chains of social constructs and full of creativity.” (success)
The correlation between imagination and creativity is obvious. Your imagination is your creation. And, visualization is just like imagination, with a purpose. When you visualize, you are mind is creating new ideas, visuals, and thoughts. So, when you visualize, you are also improving your creativity. “Visualization enables you to imagine the story being told or the object being described. The more imaginative and creative the mind becomes, the more elaborate one’s visualizations can be.” (operationmeditation.com)
5. Fosters clarity and purpose
“Visualization develops belief in self and creates a fulfilling life. When we lose hope, we lose so much. Hope is a catalyst for change. A life longing for something is worth the effort. Discover what you long for and visualize it every chance you get. You won’t be sorry. Actually, you’ll be amazed at how that personalized longing will propel you in directions you didn’t think were possible. Visualization can make that happen, but first you’ve got to believe.” (success)
When you visualize, you imagine things that you haven’t already experienced yet. Instead, you’re focusing on the future, on what you are going to do. By visualizing, you can find the goal, and start heading that direction so that you can be successful.
6. Has health benefits
Let’s get one thing out of the way: No, fantasizing about David Beckham isn’t going to make him appear at your door. But imagining yourself sculpting sexy arms might just lead to definitive results. “Psychologists have known for decades that the images you create in your mind can have a potent effect on your body; now researchers are proving it,” says Traci Stein, PhD, a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City.
It sounds woo-woo, yet mounting evidence shows that visualization really works. For example, Cleveland Clinic scientists discovered that people who performed “mental contractions” of the abductor muscle in their little finger over the course of 12 weeks increased its strength by 35 percent—not far from the boost in strength experienced by people who did actual little- finger exercises (53 percent).health.com
7. Gathers energy/willpower
Visualization takes you to places you never thought you could go, you never knew existed, and you never knew you had the ability to reach. Visualization is not only a destination, it is also a process. When you are visualizing about a goal you want to achieve, an act you want to do, or something else, that is not the only thing you are thinking about. Visualization also gets you to think about the steps you have to take in order to get there, and the process that there is. Visualization is making your mind believe, “Yes, I can do that!” AND believe “This is how.” It is up to you to start.
8. Improves performance
A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting. In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice. For instance, in his study on everyday people, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared results of those who did physical exercises to the results of those who carried out virtual workouts in their heads. In the physical exercise group, finger abduction strength increased by 53%. In the group that did “mental contractions”, their finger abduction strength increased by 35%. However, “the greatest gain (40%) was not achieved until 4 weeks after the training had ended” (Ranganathan et al., 2004). This demonstrates the mind’s incredible power over the body and its muscles.
Noted as one form of mental rehearsal, visualization has been popular since the Soviets started using it back in the 1970s to compete in sports. Now, many athletes employ this technique, including Tiger Woods who has been using it since his pre-teen years. Seasoned athletes use vivid, highly detailed internal images and run-throughs of the entire performance, engaging all their senses in their mental rehearsal, and they combine their knowledge of the sports venue with mental rehearsal. World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.” Even heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali used different mental practices to enhance his performance in the ring such as: “affirmation; visualization; mental rehearsal; self-confirmation; and perhaps the most powerful epigram of personal worth ever uttered: ‘I am the greatest.'”psychologytoday.com
9. Opens your mind to inspiration and new possibilities
If you cannot see the things you are doing in your mind’s eye then who else can or want to? By seeing things vividly and clearly even before it happens creates road maps in your brain which is the key. Having a map for reference makes it always easier to reach a destination and this is no different. The Only thing here is that you are working on creating the map on your own which according to me is pretty exhilarating.
Visualization is not just day dreaming but vividly seeing the things which are yet to happen like a movie and in absolute clarity. The more clarity you can develop on the images the better. You should be able to feel, smell and at times even feel the taste of success. I know this might seem Greek & Latin to some of you but each one of the most successful people around you & me have used visualization to a great extent.satishrao.in
10. Helps change habits
“The more we visualize ourselves doing an activity, the stronger the neural connections are which are associated with that habit. This is because the more certain neural firings occur, the more likely they are to undergo long-term potentiation, a cellular process that underlies all learning and memory.
After the neural associations are successfully built, they become a more natural reaction in the brain. In return, when we are presented with a situation similar to the one we imagined, we become more likely to act out the habits we trained ourselves to act out during the visualization exercise.” (theemotionmachine.com)
Want to start eating healthier? Visualize it! Want to spend time with your family more? Visualize it!
11. Helps acheive goals
Visualization stimulates the creative subconscious which helps to generate new ideas to better achieve ambitions. It activates the law of attraction drawing in the right people, resources, and conditions needed to succeed. In addition, visualization encourages internal motivation, pushing us to take the necessary steps toward achieving goals.
In fact, studies conducted in Russia have shown that visualization is more than a myth and has proven benefits in helping Olympic athletes to win. The study looked at four different groups of Olympians which each devoted a certain portion of time to mental and physical training.
• 1st Group: 100% physical training
• 2nd Group: 75% physical training, 25% mental training
• 3rd Group: 50% physical training, 50% mental training
• 4th Group: 25% physical training, 75% mental training
Surprisingly enough, scientists found that the fourth group performed the best during the Olympic Games. They found that through visualization, the athletes stimulated the same parts of the brain activated when actually doing the physical action. This simple, yet powerful technique helps the brain know how to work better toward achieving goals.
While it may not be directly mentioned, all of these things contribute to success, whatever it means to you. Visualization opens the mind to a whole new world where you can learn to become a better version of yourself. But, in order for that to happen, you have to believe. Believe in yourself, and believe in the power of visualization. After all, it won’t work if you don’t work.
The benefits of visualization listed in this article include:
- Builds courage
- Makes you feel empowered/confident
- Increases positivity
- Boosts creativity
- Fosters clarity and purpose
- Has health benefits
- Gathers energy/willpower
- Improves performance
- Opens your mind to inspiration and new possibilities
- Helps change habits
- Helps achieve goals
But, the power of visualization is not limited to just these. It will be different for each individual, depending on what type of person they are. In order for you to know and understand the effect visualization has on you, you must try it.
There are different types of visualization methods, and different techniques you can use. Here are five steps you can use from Forbes:
- Know what you want
- Describe your vision in detail
- Start visualizing and create the emotions
- Take daily actions
- Have grit and perserverence
Be sure to check out this guided visualization exercise that’s around 10 minutes long!
Along with that, I highly recommend checking out: Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life. “Psycho‑Cybernetics is the original text that defined the mind/body connection—the concept that paved the way for most of today’s personal empowerment programs. Turn crises into creative opportunities, dehypnotize yourself from false beliefs, and celebrate new freedom from fear and guilt. Testimonials and stories are interspersed with advice from Maltz, as well as techniques for relaxation and visualization. Dr. Maxwell Maltz teaches you his techniques of “emotional surgery”—the path to a dynamic new self‑image and self‑esteem and to achieving the success and happiness you deserve!”
“Visualization does not guarantee success. It also does not replace hard work and practice. But when combined with diligent effort (and, I would add, a strong support network), it is a powerful way to achieve positive, behavioral change and create the life you desire.” (huffpost)
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