Did you know that whether you score the winning goal or simply picture yourself kicking the ball into the net, your brain lights up similarly? It is supported by research. That is why visualization is a go-to motivator and performance enhancer for the world’s best athletes, entrepreneurs, and the mentors and coaches who guide them. Imagining clear, vivid sights in your thoughts is referred to as visualization. It may be used to unwind — or to energize and prepare oneself for a goal.
In 1960, one of the earliest visualization studies was conducted. It divided a high school basketball team into two groups: one concentrated solely on physical practice, and the other solely on visualizing certain motor abilities. After 14 days, it was shown that players who employed visualization were almost as skilled in those areas as those who only focused on physical training. Since then, there have been several studies on the subject. According to one research published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, participants in wrist casts who pictured themselves flexing their wrists lost 50% less strength after four weeks of immobilization than their non-visualizing counterparts.
The Art of Visualization
Despite this, closing your eyes isn’t all that visualizing entails. There are best practices, according to experts, for making your mental work…work.
Get up and make something.
Do a five-minute “process visualization” immediately after waking up: Write out all of the behaviors required to reach your goal. Assume you want to settle a weeks-long disagreement with a family member. Consider messaging to schedule a conversation, meditating or exercising to center yourself before the call, talking through what you want to say quietly, and purchasing a card to give them. Then go ahead and do precisely what you planned. This boosts confidence and, if done regularly, informs your brain that you deserve success since you’re following your strategy.It’s also a good place to start before moving on to more difficult visions, like completing a marathon.
Concentrate on the specifics.
When you visualize every aspect, circumstance, and feeling associated with reaching your objective, you’re really practicing how to achieve with tangible actions rather than just thinking about it. To accomplish this properly, evaluate as many of your five senses as possible and how they could pertain to your aim.
If it is climbing a mountain, imagine the sensation of your feet grasping the route, the aroma of nature, the view of the valley below you, the sound of the wind, and the taste of the meal you’ll have at the top. If you want to win your first marathon medal, think about what you’d wear, what you’d eat for breakfast, what music you’d listen to, and so on.
Remember a high performance.
Your ability to replicate a successful event will be improved by identifying your skills and the actions you did to make it happen. Additionally, if you’re struggling with self-doubt or lack of drive, it might help you draw on the enthusiasm and assurance you felt after a past victory.
Have you ever had a trophy moment that was similar to your present goal? Consider a period when you were absolutely peaceful, very excited, or extremely powerful, and then utilize that experience “to influence and drive your emotions and physiology in the present.” For example, if you want to ace a virtual presentation but have never given one in front of a large crowd, go back to a moment when you were able to calm your jitters on the spot, such as on a first date. Closely observe someone else effectively completing the activity, identify what worked, and then imagine yourself enhancing your craft based on what you learned.
Imagine the exact opposite of what you desire.
Try the negative visualization technique if you’ve ever lost interest in pursuing anything. Think about how life would be if the opposite were true and you couldn’t do it. Imagine yourself having an accident that prevents you from trekking or losing your memory, which prevents you from finishing your manuscript. Simply changing your thinking results in a great deal of appreciation and newfound motivation.