Visualise for success
16th February, 20120 Comments
Visualisations are a key part of any coaching process. To achieve something new in your life requires you to think differently and to create new neural pathways. Most top athletes visualise their performance/ technique prior to their game. If they do it to achieve success, then there's no reason that you shouldn't replicate their best practices to help you be successful!
But what is visualisation? It is about creating a mental picture using your visual sense, getting into a deeply relaxed state and using your mind to consciously create images. Some other terms used to describe visualisation are meditation, guided imagery, mental imaging and fantasy.
When visualising you are in a semi-meditative state that is optimal for creating and strengthening new neural networks. Did you know that visualisations also help your body's natural ability to heal itself? It helps information to flow more freely between your conscious and subconscious mind. Visualisations also improve alpha brainwave production which is your energy reservoir, so it refreshes you and provides you with more energy.
If you struggle to visualise then focus on deep, mindful breathing: inhale in through the nostrils and out through the mouth (this is important!) You can use a mantra or affirmation to help you such as, inhale and think of the word peace, exhale and think of the word fear. A good book to help you is "Awakening The Mind" by Anna Wise or (aimed at children but good for adults too!) "Relax Kids - The Wishing Star" by Marneta Viegas.
However it is important to use the correct visualisations based on what you want to achieve. So if you want to conserve and balance your energy in preparation for a stressful event then you need to visualise a calm and quiet place. A good idea is your sanctuary such as a beach, your bedroom, the woods etc. You should engage all your senses so feel, hear, see, smell and taste everything. Ground yourself by imagining your feet buried in the sand (as an example). Remember to take slow, calm and deep breaths. Think of inhaling calmness and exhaling anxiety.
If you are stressed out then you need to focus on "being" rather than "doing". The key here is letting go and releasing. So imagine yourself throwing rocks, with each rock representing something negative. Or holding balloons with each one containing a negative event, and letting them go. Imagine standing under a waterfall and it cleansing away any impurities in you.
If you are feeling down and want to connect with a sense of enjoyment, increase your energy, mood and creativity then recall a happy place and engage all your senses as you recall that place. Visualise everything/ everyone in your life and be thankful and grateful.
There are many other types of visualisations your coach can teach you in order to achieve your goals in life. There are specific visualisations for increasing your mind/ body connection, to increase functionality of your immune system, to open up the neural pathways between your conscious and subconscious mind, even for helping you with compulsive behaviours and addictions.
Developing the skills of visualisations will greatly enhance your potential to achieve success in your life however distractions are inevitable so put aside any judgement or critique you have of yourself. When negative thoughts pop up, acknowledge them and let them go.
Success is achievable for anyone so work with your coach to develop as many skills as you can to increase your chances of success!
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