WHAT IS MENTAL IMAGERY OR VISUALIZATION?
Visualization is a practice that consists of creating visual images or pictures in the mind. Self-induced mental imagery can be defined as pictures in the mind or a visual representation in the absence of environmental input. Research on mental imagery can be tracked back to Sir Francis Galton the cousin of Charles Darwin. In 1880 Galton assessed over 100 people from different fields of work & life utilizing a mental imagery questionnaire and found that imagination and the ability to see mental pictures differed from person to person but everyone has the ability to create mental pictures through the use of imaginative practices. However, some people are able to see mental images more vividly then others. Okay, so what! Why should you care?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?
1. The mind is capable of picturing or imagining an event or object through imaginative suggestion or auto-suggestion.
2. A mental image can be created in the mind and the brain cannot tell the difference between what is imagined and what is actually real.
3. Imagining a response through Imaginative Practice allows the mind to prepare the body to act in a desired way.
4. Through visualization you are able to reprogram your subconscious mind (be aware that your subconscious accounts for the majority of your conscious thoughts and are responsible for your actions.
5. Imagining an act is equivalent to the actual activity.
HOW IT WORKS
For it to be effective you must engage in (1) creating mental imagery (2) engage in mental practice.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?
Mental imagery is a very specific and focused exercise that involves the use of all your bodily senses to recreate an event or experience in your mind. Imagery refers to creating an image of what it is you want to experience.
Mental practice is the ability to practice an event in your mind without the use of your physical body. This requires repeating what you are seeing and making the experience as real as you can. That means engaging all of your senses.
For this practice to work requires you to:
Imagine it – See it in your mind.
Feel it – Feel it by going through the motions & emotions of the experience.
Rehearse it – Rehearse the outcome you want from the experience in your mind.
Live it- Now go out and perform it in real life.
DOES IT WORK?
Research proves that it works. I have used mental imagery since I was in junior highschool as a runner. More recently, I have used it with clients to improve their mental and physical control over their anger. Here are a few studies that show you how powerful it is.
“Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads,” she said. “The group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5 percent). This average remained for three months following the mental training.” (Visualization is a powerful tool.)
In another study done by Pascual-Leone, A., Nguyet, D., Cohen, L. G., Brasil-Neto, J. P., Cammarota, A., & Hallett, M. (1995) It was found that participants who mentally practiced a 5-finger piano arrangement on an imagined piano for two hours a day had the same (neural changes and reduction of mistakes) as the participants who physically practiced the same passage on an actual piano.
Mental imagery is used successfully to assist victims of strokes to rehabilitate themselves. You can literally use your mind to succeed in actual life.
MY SUGGESTION FOR YOU
Visualize your goals or new habits you want to achieve everyday
Think and speak as if what you want has already been done
Write down daily how you are moving toward what you want
IF YOU SEE IT, THEN YOU REALLY CAN ACHIEVE IT!
Galton, F. (1880). Statistics of mental imagery.Mind, 5, 301–318
Pascual-Leone, A. et al. “Modulation of Muscle Responses Evoked by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation during the Acquisition of New Fine Motor Skills.” Journal of Neurophysiology 74.3 (1995): 1037–1045. Print. http://www.chrisdonnellymusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Pascual-Leone1995.pdf
Ungerleider, S. (2005). Mental training for peak performance: Top athletes reveal the mind exercises they use to excel. Emmaus, PA: Rodale
Visualization is a powerful tool. (2014, Jul 01). Tallahassee Democrat Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/1541684733?accountid=34899