Have you ever wondered if something actually happened or if you just dreamed it happened? If there’s one wonderful thing you should know about the power of your subconscious mind it is this: it cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. This is the principle behind what makes visualization such an incredibly powerful tool in your process of transforming yourself into your ideal self-image. When your subconscious accepts the new beliefs and attitudes, it then goes about implementing these changes in your life. These principles are used in most of the hundreds of audio programs I have created.
The power of visualization was made clear in a now famous study conducted at the University of Chicago a number of years ago. A group of students, all with about the same ability in basketball, were divided into three groups and asked to shoot foul shorts. The percentage of baskets each team made was recorded. Then, the students were given some unusual instructions: The first group was told not to practice or play basketball for 30 days. The second group was told to practice shooting foul shots every day for one hour for 30 days. And the third group was told not to go on a basketball court at all for 30 days – but to practice shooting foul shots mentally for about an hour each day. At the end of the 30 days, the students’ skills were assessed. Not surprisingly, group one, the group that hadn’t practiced at all, made no improvement over their original score. Group two, the group that had diligently practiced, improved their performances by 24 percent. But the most remarkable results were found in group three. This group, who hadn’t set foot on a basketball court, who had only imagined shooting baskets, had improved their performance by a phenomenal 23 percent – almost the same improvement as the group who had practiced daily.
THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION
Athletes were among the first to recognize visualization could improve performance. A former world-class weight lifter had not trained seriously in over eight years. When he was at his peak, he could bench press 365 pounds. In recent years, however, doing only casual workouts, he could seldom lift over 280 pounds. He estimated that to get back to the level he once attained and to be able to lift 365 pounds again, it would take nine to twelve months of serious training. One evening this American athlete worked with Soviet trainers who taught him how to use mental imaging techniques, which involved very detailed and specific visualizations. After the mental training, the athlete was astounded to find that he could successfully life an amount of weight that should have been impossible – 365 pounds – a weight he hadn’t been able to lift in over eight years. An hour of mental training enable him to do what would have otherwise taken him at least nine months of intense physical training!
In recent years the use of visualization among professional and Olympic athletes has become very popular. Studies have proven that visualization can lead to actual physical changes in the nerves and muscles. By combining mental training with actual physical training, these elite athletes are finding the edge they have always sought. Mental changes affect not only physical changes, but also the most deeply ingrained habits and beliefs. By visualizing the accomplishments you want to make, you are affecting your ideas and beliefs about your self-image and your life. By expanding your images of what is possible, what once seemed impossible is overcome. The elite athlete’s edge is also your through the power of visualization. HOW IT WORKS Visualizations are mental images, feeling, and thoughts concerning a specific event. It’s a different process from simply “seeing” something. Seeing is a physical process, directly linked to your conscious, physical world. Visualization or mental imagery, on the other hand, is similar to imagination. Your deep-seated beliefs about yourself have created your image of yourself. Now, as you are guided through your relaxation/visualization sessions, you’re using your natural imagination in a conscious way, to create what you truly want, starting with your self-image. Albert Einstein once remarked, “Imagination is greater than knowledge.” Every accomplishment, every work of art, every worthwhile creation starts as an image in someone’s mind.
VISUALIZATION: YOUR MENTAL BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS
In order to create a building an architect must first of all visualize the type of building desired. That mental imagery is then projected onto a piece of paper: a blueprint. The builders execute whatever ideas have been imprinted on the blueprint. Visualization works the same way. The mental picture you hold of yourself in your subconscious mind becomes a reality in your life. HOW TO INCREASE VISUALIZATION EFFECTIVENESS Using visualization can be effective at any time; even as you go about your daily routine, but it is most powerful when done in a relaxed state. This is because relaxation allows your mental images to reach your subconscious mind. First, you become comfortable with your eyes closed and then let go of any negative beliefs or feelings about your subject. Then you follow that with positive imagery and affirmations to reprogram your mind with positive constructive beliefs and images of success.
EVERYONE VISUALIZES DIFFERENTLY
Different people’s minds work differently, so don’t worry if you don’t actually “see” a mental picture or image. Sometimes visualizations are very subtle. If you are a conceptual thinker you may not see in graphic detail. Instead, you may receive impressions, ideas, feelings or inner knowing, or you may perceive information, hearing with your “inner” ear. If you are a visual thinker, you may close your eyes and generate vivid mental “movies” – detailed pictures, colors and images. Or you may receive a combination of the two – both images and impressions. It is best to avoid expectations about how your visualizations will appear. Fixed expectations or worries about whether you’re “doing it right” tend to block impressions. Relax. Be completely open and receptive to whatever comes to your inner mind. Your own experiences will be uniquely wonderful.
During your visualization sessions, you might experience a number of thoughts and or images that seemingly have nothing to do with your new self-image. However, these thoughts and images may be connected with other areas of your life that are related to your self-image in some way. As they surface, they may bring up certain emotions, and you may wish to record such images in your journey in order to express the feelings. When you first begin visualizing a new behavior or quality you may find yourself arguing with some of the positive images – for instance, “I could never been that confident,” or “Forget it; it’s just not me.” If this happens, it is simply your mind responding to old subconscious “programming” it h as been playing for so many years. As you continue with a visualization practice this pattern will diminish and be replaced with the positive ideas you are now putting into your mind. As you repeat your sessions every day, the positive changes in your life will grow greater and greater.
It is repetition that impresses the subconscious mind. The constant flooding of your subconscious with positive thoughts will eventually cause any negative ideas to lose power and dissolve. If possible, do at least one visualization each day. With faithful use of this practice you will be amazed at how your ability to visualize in your own unique way will improve. I have produced hundreds of recorded guided visualizations and meditations. For more information on the use of visual imagery for self-improvement and success visit my website www.QuantumQuests.com.