We’re all familiar with the scene in movies where the clairvoyant woman with the long fingernails will wave her hand over her crystal ball. She will be able to “see the future” or help her clientele recall an event from the past. Most importantly, someone is seeing something significant. What would it be like if you can “see” into the future, or go back to a past event?
The beauty of our brain is that it’s capable of many extraordinary things. If you close your eyes and think of the Eiffel Tower, most people will able to “hold onto” a mental image. Perhaps it’s an image from our last visit to Paris, or perhaps it’s based on a series of photos or drawings we’ve seen of the iconic tower.
One tool that is helpful for people is the use of Visualization- or as I like to define the ability to close your eyes and “bring up” a mental image. Our brains are constantly working, processing sounds, scents, colors, etc. The purposeful practice of singularly focusing on one task brings much relief to our minds as well as brings a sense of calm and peace. I often introduce visualization with clients who are having difficulty with stress, anxiety, or having difficulty falling asleep.
Most people enjoy when I guide them through “visiting” their favorite vacation spot or a place that is peaceful. After a period of physically relaxing one’s body, I help clients begin to “see” this place, and try to hold their focus and thoughts for several minutes. I ask them to think about colors they are seeing-blue sky, turquoise water, sounds they may be hearing (crashing waves, seagulls, laughter, tactile sensations-like sand between their toes) and scents (e.g., smell of salt water). The key to visualization is to have as vivid of an image/experience as possible with all of the parts of your brain related to senses being activated in this singular image/experience. This richness in visualization allows for our mind and body to feel very far away from our present state.
Visualization can also be used in goal setting, can be used in conjunction with positive thinking, and previewing an upcoming moment or event. Often in interviews, athletes will state that the “game slows down for them,” or that everything they were able to visualize had actually just occurred. The ability to visualize a play developing, or the ability to visualize success allows one to prepare for that moment, as well as not be surprised or caught off guard when it occurs.
We can use one of our most important organs/muscle in a dynamic way through visualization. So if you’re ever in a pinch, remember that you have the power to visualize an alternative outcome and maybe even change the course of your day…or your life.