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Visualisation: How it works and how to start

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

As humans, we are constantly processing information through our senses and we are all regularly using our visualisation skills.


You might be imagining what you could make for dinner, or thinking about how a meeting or conversation might go, or looking forward to that well earned holiday.


Often we can find ourselves imagining everything that could go WRONG, which is a natural tendency of our built in negativity bias, so we can easily forget the power that visualisation can have for creating the desired results or changes we actually WANT in our lives.



Visualisation is the act of imagining yourself in a situation or feeling your desired end result. It's a way to gain clarity on your goals, instil confidence in your ability to pursue those goals, and increase motivation towards achieving them, and the wonderful thing is that our brains cannot tell the difference between a real experience and an imagined one, which can work for us if we train ourselves.


Some benefits of visualisation:


Clarifies Goals


When you visualise yourself achieving your goals, it helps you to work out what you don't want and you gain more clarity on what you want to achieve. This helps you to focus and prioritize your efforts towards reaching your objectives, making it easier to create a realistic plan of action.


Increases Confidence


Visualising success increases your self-confidence, supporting you to build the belief that you can accomplish anything you truly set your mind to. This feeling of self-assurance enhances your performance, enabling you to put your best foot forward and strive for your goals.


Reduces Stress


Visualisation can help reduce stress levels, bringing about feelings of calmness and inner peace. By visualizing scenarios in a calm or peaceful environment, you can train your brain to associate these images with positive emotions, thereby reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.


Improves Performance


Visualisation allows you to practice without physically having to perform, making it an excellent tool for improving performance. Studies have shown that visualisation can improve performance in tasks such as sports, public speaking, and academic tests.


 

So HOW do we harness visualisation to work for us?


Relax


The best state you can be in to visualise successfully is a relaxed one. Take a few deep breaths, let your forehead and jaw relax, and let you shoulders relax.


Know what you want


This is where it helps to have a reasonably clear and specific picture of how you want the situation to be, and sometimes this is the most challenging part of the process.


Allow yourself to put into detail what it is you actually WANT, and create the idea in your mind as if it is being or has been achieved, right now.


ALL the senses


Imagine every sight, every sound, every smell, every feeling both from an emotional point of view as well as tactical.


If your goal is to successfully graduate in your chosen field, imagine the day that achievement is realised. Who is with you to celebrate? What are you wearing? How does the robe feel on your shoulders and the cap on your head? How does it feel to shake hands with the Dean? Can you hear applause? Can you feel the smile beaming from your face? How proud do you feel of all your hard work and dedication?


The more you put your senses into the vision and you feel it hear it and see it right now, the bigger chance you have of achieving that goal.


Visualise right to the positive conclusion


Imagine the last step in your goal is as you want it to be. For example, you have just finished your presentation, the audience is clapping and smiling up at you, you are smiling back at them and taking a big deep breath, nodding and feeling satisfied that you have delivered ultimate value.


Repetition and practice


Any skill worth learning in life takes practice, and visualisation is a muscle we can build.


Maybe you could start spending 5 minutes a day daring to imagine something you want, and build from there.


Like any skill, as you build your visualisation muscle you will notice more quickly when you are imagining what you want to AVOID, and you can 'change channels' to the vision you want to build.


Then you can start taking action toward that vision.


‘Action without vision is only passing time. Vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.’ – Nelson Mandela


Until next time,


The PLS team








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