Visualization is a powerful tool! To visualize is to create images to help you envision an idea, dream or goal. Our thoughts are highly creative forces that are constantly expressing themselves in our lives.
With visualization you create images in your mind, or use physical images on a vision board. You create images of having or doing whatever it is that you want to do in life. But what’s the impact of this visual exercise on us? And how does visualization change your brain?
Even though visualization has been regarded as “new age hype” for many years, research has shown that there is a strong scientific basis for how and why visualization works.
When you imagine something vividly and with emotion, your brain chemistry changes as though the experience was real, and your mind records it as a real memory.
If you can vividly imagine or visualize a future situation, your mind will record it as a real memory. The situation will become something known, something you’ve “already experienced”.
And not only will the feelings of insecurity or anxiety be reduced, but you’ll feel confident in your ability to go through the situation because you will have successfully done it before (although only in your mind).
Several studies have shown that mental practice, through visualization, can be as effective to improve skills as real practice. You can develop and reinforce real skills by visualizing yourself practicing them.
When we visualize an action, the same regions of the brain are stimulated as when we perform it and the same neural networks are created. Athletes actually visualize in order to break records, or win competitions. They go through scenarios where they run faster and then they actually do in real life. That’s just a glimpse of the power of our minds!
Visualization under deep relaxation is also referred as self-hypnosis. When you relax deeply, your brainwaves move from Beta (12 to 30 Hz) to Alpha (8 to 12 Hz), and sometimes even Theta (4 to 8 Hz).
Alpha and Theta are suggestible states in which it becomes easier to reprogram patterns and beliefs at a subconscious level.
If you tell your brain your plan in a thousand words, it gets bored mid-way and wants to go to sleep. But if you draw a picture in real life or in your head, it will respond with much deeper interest and attention.
So, how can you apply visualization to your daily life?
Here’s a little example on how to visualize:
- Close your eyes and set an intention (your goal) with an affirmation.
- Imagine the situation or future event you would like to work on. Make the scene as real as you can, like a simulation, using your five senses. The more vividly you can imagine the scene, the better it will be recorded in your mind as a “memory”.
- Always incorporate strong and positive emotions. Without a strong emotion, the event visualized won’t seem enough real to be recorded as a memory.
- Repeat this process often. Try to visualize daily until you notice desirable changes in your behavior, skills, confidence, or other areas.