Let's start with the very basics.
What even is visualisation?
Visualisation is the practice of painting a picture in your mind of a desired outcome.
This can take many different forms. For example:
- It might be a material good such as some trainers you're looking to buy
- It might be an image of you achieving your goal such as running a marathon
- It can even be a desired relationship
There's a reason why so many elite athletes, businessmen and generally successful people credit their success to the power of visualisation - it's effective.
Below are the top 5 reasons why you should try introducing the power of visualisation into your life, it can work for your smallest goals or even your wildest dreams!
5 Benefits of Visualisation
Benefit #1: Can Serve as Practice
The first benefit of visualisation is it can serve as great practice to a real event.
Neuroscientists have found that when you visualise yourself doing something, your brain activity is incredibly similar to when you're actually doing that thing.
For example, lets imagine you've got to present a presentation in front of your colleagues.
By visualising yourself presenting it, you're actually practicing doing the real thing.
Therefore, when it's time to present it for real, you're going to feel much more confident and it's much more likely that everything is going to go to plan as your brain has practiced for this situation!
Using visualisation as a form of practice has become incredibly popular with athletes over recent years and for good reason too!
Various studies have shown that athletes who visualise themselves performing in great detail are able to perform to a higher quality compared to those who don't use visualisation.
In one particular study, they found that gymnasts who used the power of visualisation were suffering from less errors, better timing and increased flexibility.
If you're an athlete, visualisation could be incredibly beneficial for you!
Benefit #2: Increased Motivation
The next and most immediate benefit of using visualisation is the motivational surge you get right after.
How it Works
By visualising yourself achieving your goal in as much detail as you can, you're sure to boost your motivational levels.
This is because by visualising yourself achieving your goal, you're briefly experiencing all the joy, pleasure and sense of accomplishment that will come with the achievement.
This increases your desire for those pleasurable feelings and thus motivates you to achieve it.
Let's say you have a goal to run a full marathon.
By visualising yourself running and completing it in as much detail as you can, you're going to set off a brief sense of accomplishment in your brain.
As previously mentioned, this is because your brain won't be able to distinguish between the two.
This sense of accomplishment and the endorphins that go with it are going to leave you desiring more, thus motivating you to start training for it.
Benefit #3: Decreased Stress Levels
In the same vein as the first benefit, by visualising yourself doing things, it's almost a dress rehearsal for your brain. As well as the practice it provides you with, it also helps to reduce your stress levels.
Studies have shown that through deep visualisation, cortisol (a hormone responsible for your stress levels) decreases significantly.
This can be incredibly beneficial if you're stressed out in a high pressure environment. It can help to reduce any anxiety you have over your current predicament.
For many of us, if we have some sort of upcoming exam or test, it can be an incredibly stressful time - especially if it's of great importance.
By visualising in great detail how the exam will go, you're not only practicing for the real version but you're also reducing your overall stress levels.
Furthermore, lower stress levels are beneficial in a range of ways such as an increase in cognitive ability and better sleep quality.
Benefit #4: Better Health
This benefit may sound far-fetched but the science behind it talks for itself.
In over 15 studies conducted, consistent and visualisation has been found to show significant improvements for inflammatory conditions.
Furthermore, a lot of the research indicates that deep visualisation can be especially beneficial for arthritis patients. It can reduce symptoms, as well as reduce inflammation.
Similarly, there are also various studies that show visualisation can help muscle recovery and pain alleviation.
If you're an athlete or even just somebody who likes to push their body to the limits inside the gym, visualisation can help muscle recovery and help you to train harder and faster than ever!
Benefit #5: Improves Confidence
As previously mentioned, visualisation can serve as a practice for doing the real thing. This is the first way that visualisation can improve your confidence. The more you practice doing something, the more confident you're going to be when it comes to doing that thing.
Furthermore, one extensive study has shown that visualising yourself receiving praise from the ones you admire and love can boost your self esteem in the short term. Therefore, if you ever need a short boost of confidence, try it out!
By being consistent in your visualisation practices, you're able to make your ideas permanent and a core part of who you are. This is because a repeated thought/feeling actually becomes a belief after a certain period of time!
If you feel like you're lacking in the confidence department, try visualising yourself as a confident person every day.
After a certain period of time, this thought/idea will become synonymous with your identity. It will literally be ingrained into your brain. The thought will have become a belief and a core staple of who you are!
Hopefully, this article inspires you to try implementing some visualisation into your own life. Not only for a more productive life but for better mental and physical health. Good luck!