Did I tell you the story of how I accidentally ended up studying sport psychology?
My dream family therapy course got unexpectedly canceled at the last minute, and rather than deferring for a year, I jumped right into the world of sports psychology.
What seemed like a disappointment led me to taking onboard life changing techniques, that I now love helping others incorporate into their lives!
Today, let’s talk VISUALIZATION!
When we visualize we create neural connection between our brain and our muscles, that prep us to respond in a way that we visualize.
Visualization is a popular intervention in sport psychology, probably right up there with goal setting...
And, there is much scientific support for its effectiveness. Practicing visualization can motivate and inspire us with images of desired states, that can shift our attention and re-focus on either what is of value, or on perfecting a skill… Visualization has been shown to improve performance outcomes, but beyond this to lower stress and blood pressure, even improve sleep patterns…
When and what can we visualize?
Why not start the moment you wake up!
A good place to start is to become mindful of some of the things you are saying to yourself, even before your foot hits the floor. “Here we go again?” Finding yourself feeling a vague sense of anxiety at the thought of a much too long to-do-list?
Imagine, instead, visualizing a DESIRED scenario, feeling, or mindset.
To give you an example, the first thing in the morning I like to visualize is the experience of peace and calm, or a connection with my faith…
I imagine myself finding much peace in typing away at my computer with a large mug of tea. I imagine a favorite image pertaining to my faith.
Visualization helps us to redirect our attention away from what can go “wrong.” We are naturally wired to consider worst case scenarios, with their accompanying experience of anxiety too easily triggered…
Visualization offers us a powerful alternative that redirects our trail of thought, questioning any attachment and cognitive commitment to worst case scenarios as NOT THE ONLY possible realities, keeping us open to limitless possibilities and opportunities.
Here are two simple strategies you may like to consider trying:
Instead of getting your focus hijacked by visions of what can go wrong or sucked into the humm of internet news, take a moment to visualize a feeling state or behavior that you value or would like to see happen. Appreciate the control you have over redirecting your imagination to empower yourself. Whether you would like to visualize an interview, a work presentation, even the way you handle your little ones at homework time (with angelic patience… and motherly wisdom, ofcourse :-)).
See your self experiencing the calm of being focused just on the present moment, on whatever inspires you, or on something good or of value that your day may bring… Stay open to feeling surprised by the blessings to come…
I finish with this powerful quote about visualization:
“Visualization activates the same neural networks that actual task performance does, which can strengthen the connection between brain and body… whether people performed physical finger exercises or just imagined doing them, activity shot up in the part of their brain where nerve pulses initiate muscle movement.” Kossly, PhD
Here’s to reclaiming your focus and imagination,
With love, Bozena