3 benefits of visualisation
Closing your eyes and imagining the future… can it make a difference? Visualisation is a tool used by many in the personal development sector, including coaches. It’s a small and simple act that has powerful consequences.
Our brain finds it tough to navigate what’s real and what’s imagined, and this can work in our favour. It means that every time we visualise something, the same connections and synapses get fired off in our brain that would have if we did it in real life.
A study published by the Journal of Consulting Psychology looked into the power of visualisation with two groups of people looking for new jobs. Both groups were given career counselling and interview coaching, but the second group were also taught visualisation techniques. After receiving training for two months, 21% of the first group had found new jobs compared to an amazing 66% of the second group (those who had used visualisation).
By visualising interviews and getting job offers, the second group had mentally prepared for the real-life interviews. Their subconscious already believed they had got the job, leading to a boost in confidence. When we give our subconscious clear messages like this, it does everything it can to bring it into being. This is the power of visualisation.
“When you are visualising, you are emitting a powerful frequency. Your brain will work tirelessly to achieve the messages that you feed your subconscious.” – Life coach Ayesha Giselle Dornelly
Here we look at just some of the benefits of visualisation and how to reap these benefits.
1. Boost your confidence
When we visualise ourselves succeeding at something, our body and mind reacts as if we have. It gives us an opportunity to see ourselves in a different light, how would we look if we were confident? How would we hold ourselves and interact with others? What could be possible?
Once we’ve given ourselves the chance to explore this and visualise it, we can be it. By visualising a nerve-wracking scenario and seeing it go well, our brain gets familiar with it. So when the scenario happens in real life, it feels familiar and we feel more at ease.
Try this: The next time you have something you’re nervous about coming up (an exam, speech or important meeting at work, for example) take some time to visualise it going well. See yourself as your most confident self and notice how the scenario goes.
Feel the experience as you visualise it, note the way calm and confidence feels and bring this feeling back when the event takes place in real life.
2. Increase motivation
Often, when we feel a slump in our motivation, we’ve forgotten why we’re doing something. Regardless of what your personal ‘why’ is for doing what you do, reconnecting with it is a powerful way to increase motivation.
Visualisation can help with this. By spending some time imagining your future self, happy, you can spot what it is that’s making you happy. Look at your environment, what you’re spending your time doing. Imagining success makes it all the more achievable to your mind and will give you that boost of motivation you need to keep going.
Try this: Visualise yourself five years in the future and go through a typical day where you’re happy and have achieved what you want. What is your day made up of? What are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you? How can you take one step towards that vision, today?
3. Offers clarity
If you’re feeling unsure about something, visualisation can help you get clearer on how you feel. By imagining different outcomes, you can focus on what you really want and make decisions based off of this. Visualisation is not fortune telling, but you’ll be able to try on different scenarios and see what ‘fits’ best for you right now.
Try this: When you’re feeling unclear on which direction to go in, visualise your different options and ask yourself which feels most in alignment with your goals? Once you’ve found the right option, continue visualising it and making it as clear as possible to help you move towards it.
If you find it difficult to visualise in your mind, you may find it helpful to use real-life imagery. Try creating a vision board using cut-out images to give yourself something to focus on. Look at it as often as possible and feel everything on the board.
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