Visualization exercises have become incredibly popular in the wellness & personal development community in the last few years.
Many coaches recommend a visualization routine in the morning or night time to create the future their clients want, but how do you get started?
Is there a right way & a wrong way to do them?
In this post, we will answer how and why visualizations work, as well as what to specifically do in your brain so that your visualizations bring you closer to your wellness goals!
Let’s start with a mini exercise, which you can do now with your eyes open.
The Lemon Experiment
Imagine you are standing in your kitchen. You look down at the counter and see a lemon and a knife.
You grab the knife with your dominant hand and the lemon with your other hand.
You can feel the cool skin of the lemon, slightly oily, ripe but not too soft.
You hold the lemon down on the counter and begin slicing it with the knife.
You can see the knife slice through it, and can hear the juice squirting out.
You cut through until the lemon is in two halves.
You reach for one of the halves and cut it in two more halves.
You can see the lemon juice dripping on the counter, and certainly smell it.
You grab one the sliced lemon quarters and bring it closer to your mouth, then take a bite.
Chances are high that you smelled and tasted a lemon during this exercise, and likely salivated as well!
How is that possible when there is no actual lemon?
This is because our brain does not know the difference between imagination and reality.
Imagining something vividly can have almost the same effect as experiencing it with our five senses here and now.
This is true for everything you imagine, like your ideal body, a new movement you want to master, a future conversation going well, a successful job interview, and virtually anything you want to achieve.
It is also true for things that we do not want to experience like stumbling in a job interview, a first date going badly, or a public speech where everyone is staring at you and judging you!
We can change how we feel here and now, by changing what we think about & visualize.
We visualize all the time and we call it daydreaming.
Most of us are not taught to do this consciously so we often daydream randomly and the content of our visualizations depends on how we feel in the moment.
Below are simple & powerful tips to help you visualize more intently and in ways that light up the brain, bringing you closer to your goals.
When Visualizing success, try to:
- Sit, stand, or lay down somewhere comfortable, with no distractions, and start with a few deep breaths to relax your mind & body.
- Set an intention for how you want to feel.
- Use all 5 senses in your visualizations. Notice what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel both physically & emotionally.
- Details matter. Be as specific as you can be in creating your visualization. For example, imagine each and every muscle in detail that you want to build, go through every body part, movement, and sensation/feeling you want to achieve.
- Visualize in the first person. You want to see, hear, and feel everything in your mind as though you’re experiencing it like you are actually there. Instead of “seeing yourself” you’re “looking through your own eyes.”
- Be patient :). This is a process and it may feel difficult or uncomfortable at first. This is okay because you are training the muscles in your brain. Start with 5 minutes a day and in no time, it will be as easy as salivating at the “sight” of a freshly cut lemon!
Give this a try every day for 7 days! Pick the same time every day.
I prefer first thing in the morning when my mind is starting to map out my day.
Choose a skill you want to improve or an outcome you want to have.
Visualize having that outcome here and now.
Fully see it and hear it through your eyes and ears. Continue until you have a positive feeling in your body.
Watch as your visualizations manifest into reality sooner than later.