The human mind is a powerful thing. It’s the center of bodies activity. It determines our actions, feelings and thoughts. And the good thing is, it’s not a passive process. We can steer it actively and use it to get better.
So why won’t we? There are many ways you can do this, and today I’ll describe one method…
The power of visualization.
I can give you many examples, techniques and theories about how this works and how powerful it is, BUT that would be too much for now. That’s why I’ll limit it to some examples and useful tips.
Visualization is a technique, psychologists use to solve various problems. I’ll give you two examples.
The first one is fear. To get over fear, you must confront your fear and do what you a
re afraid of. Some helping techniques like relaxing can help you. With this, you will experience that it’s not that bad after all and that you can handle the situation. Then the fear will turn down.
But it’s not always possible to confront yourself or your friend with the fear in real life. That’s when visualization or ‘in vitro‘ is used. It’s the same technique as I just described, but then you do it only in your mind and not in real life. And it works. Just by your imagination, you can get rid of the fear.
Another example is used in revalidation psychology. When a patient needs to gain muscle, but has a lot of pain working out, they let the patient visualize the workout. There has been a study where one group used mental training, and another group who used physical training. In the end, the first group gained 22% more muscle strength, and the second group 30%. The effect of imagination is still smaller than the effect you gain with physical training. BUT it’s pretty amazing you can gain muscle only by your visualization!
Mental representation has a positive effect on sport performance too. If you want to do a movement or an action, you can learn to do it more efficient by visualizing it. For example, there are many athletes using this technique right before they have to make a high jump in order to be able to reach the needed height.
Your brain doesn’t make much difference between what’s imagined and what you see or do in real life. With brain scans, scientists have seen that the same brain parts were active when you make a hand movement in real life and in your imagination. So if you want to get better at something, for example playing the guitar, imagine in yourself playing it the way you want to be able to play it. Or if you want to be able to do some gymnastic moves, imagine yourself doing them. This way you can learn it way faster and get better because the same brain parts are activated.
Another way you can use visualization to help you, is by visualizing the things you want in your life. In our daily lives our focus determines the things we see or indicates the direction you will be heading too. This focus can be unconscious. We don’t always know the things in our surroundings our brain focuses on. Imagination can steer this focus. For example, if you want to have a healthy body. Imagine you already have one and imagine it often. This way, it determines your focus, so that you can see more elements related to this health wish way faster. Using this way, you really can get that healthy body!
This can be linked with the interesting idea of the ‘law of attraction’. This theory includes that you can attract all the things you want in your life with techniques like imagination. If you want to know more about this, I’ll recommend the movie ‘The secret‘ to you (full movie is on Youtube). Some people are skeptical to this law of attraction, but I’ll let you decide.
If visualization can be such a powerful thing, why do we not use this? Before you go to sleep, or right now if that’s possible, I want you to close your eyes. What skill do you want to learn? What do you want? What do you see? How do you feel? Visualize this in a detailed way. Try to make it as real as possible and feel the sensations you get in that moment. It takes some practice and you should do it often, but it’s really worth doing it. It’s important that you keep working hard too, only visualizing won’t give you everything you want.
It’s the combination that really has all the power!