What is visualization and can it help you achieve your goals?
As a Psychologist, I will help you :
- Define visualization
- How does it influence our ability to achieve a goal or not?
- Prominent people who use visualization to achieve their goals
- Different visualization styles
Definition of Visualization
Visualization is creating mental and physical images of your future goals. When you visualize, you are creating a mental representation of your desired outcomes.
In a Psychological practice, visualization is used to help patients to rehearse an action mentally. It can also be used to help them relax.
According to Choice Theory of behavior, there are four components of behavior. These are Thinking, Feeling, Physiology and Acting. For you to act, all your other three components must be congruent.
During the goal-setting process, visualization helps to put the brain and the emotions in the right vibration for you to ACT.
How Does Visualization Work?
1. It creates Motivation
When you create the mental images of your goal, it also influences your emotions.
For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, visualize and see yourself in that perfect body shape. See how good you look in that dress you’ve been dreaming of buying. Hear your partner complementing how hot you look.
Such a visualization exercise evokes positive emotions which help to power your motivation to get to work. If you were not sure whether you would hit the gym that day, after such a visualization exercise, you would be powered up to go.
2. It programs your subconscious brain.
Can visualization reprogram your brain?
Yes, it most definitely can.
So, first of all, the brain has two functional ‘parts’- the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious part of the brain controls our day to day interaction with our world. It is in charge of your senses and perceptions. It monitors your thoughts and helps you analyze situations.
On the other hand, the subconscious is the ‘driving system.’
It stores our deep-seated beliefs.
It is the gallery to our repressed thoughts and experiences.
It is the source of our instinctive behavior.
If we were to think of the brain as a car, the conscious part would be the steering wheel, the brake and accelerating pedals and subconscious as the engine.
[Pic: Courtesy of the Conscious Nutrition by Heather Fleming]
The capacity of the conscious mind is negligible compared to the sub-conscious mind. However, despite this fact, the conscious mind holds the controls to the sub-conscious mind. Meaning, you can still use your conscious mind to tap into the power of the sub-conscious. Therefore-IN COMES VISUALIZATION.
So, how can you use visualization to reprogram your sub-conscious?
When you visualize the outcomes of an action you are about to take, the brain sends dopamine into your system. Dopamine is the happiness chemical. It gets us excited. The activities in the mind improve your general mood and motivation.
According to the Success Coach Tonny Robbinson, our ability to perform in particular tasks depends on our Belief System, our Perceived Potential, our Actions and the Results we get after acting.
When we are motivated to do something, our belief system is in ‘hold’, therefore we do the task motivated and if we get better results than we expected, the belief system is changed. We start to believe more in our inherent potential. These cycles of Motivated State- Motivated Action- Better Results- Altered Belief System- More Belief in Our Potential ultimately leads to the reprogramming of the brain.
Here is Tonny Robbins explaining the cycle.
3. It Activates The Law of Attraction
I know you must have heard of the law of attraction. I do not mean the physics law of attraction-No. The Universe Law of Attraction which states that whatever you give your focus, attention, and energy will ultimately become a reality.
Even the holy book has talked about a similar phenomenon.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
The Bible talks about asking for your goals in prayers, having unwavering faith that you have received it- note, it’s not faith you will receive it, it’s YOU HAVE RECEIVED, then it will be yours.
There you have it. Call it the Law of Attraction or whatever name you feel comfortable giving it. The fact remains that the process is the same. The only difference is that for the people who believe in the Law of Attraction, they believe it’s the universe that makes the desired outcome a reality. For the ones who believe in a higher power, it’s the higher power that makes the desired outcome a reality.
Whatever you believe, the Law of Attraction is still in play.
So, visualization helps it to move the ‘desired outcome’ from just a future possibility to a present reality. The only difference is that it’s only you who knows that it has already happened. You are only waiting for the physical manifestation.
Here is a YouTube video explaining the concept of The Law of Attraction explicitly:
Now you know how visualization works. In the next blog, we will look at some of the most prominent and successful people who have used visualization to realize their success, wealth and happiness.