Skip to main content

Dreaming your way there

When I was younger, my dad used to tell me to visualize myself winning. He’d tell me to do it for everything. Passing a difficult math test. Coming up on a soccer game or a cross country race. Trying out for symphonic band. Preparing for a big presentation or interview.

Anything. Everything. Visualize yourself winning.

My dad emphatically believed in this. So. I did it. I used his tricks. But what I didn’t realize, is how real this tactic is. As a kid. And I use kid to define the entirety of my life. I just thought this was my dad’s little trick and I used it partially just to humor him.

However, visualizing the task ahead of you can actually lead to not just learning, but performance improvement.

Isn’t this wild? Imagining ourselves doing something actually helps us do it better.

Athletes, business(wo)men, actors and musical performers all use visualization. But, what’s really cool, is that this can be expanded to more than achieving goals. It can also be used to help improve your relaxation response and reduce nervousness. By enhancing these skills, you can lower your fight or flight response. Which, is often triggered during times of increased anxiety and panic attacks.

So. This technique, which I started practicing to humor my dad, can be used in everyday life for a variety of benefits.

If you haven’t done it before, let’s give it a shot!

“Instead of trying to avoid thinking about what might go wrong, researchers say that carefully rehearsing each potential fear-inducing moment before it happens can help…and it can be used to get ready for anything difficult.”

“Visualization activates the creative powers of the subconscious mind, motivating it to work harder at creating solutions. You’ll also notice new levels of motivation and find yourself doing things that normally you would avoid, but that will take you closer to success.”

Relaxation visualization:

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on your breathing. Filling your lungs with your inhales. Emptying them with your exhales. Keep breathing deeply. With your eyes closed, imagine yourself on an empty, pristine beach. Leaning your back against a tree, enjoying the shade. Small waves gently rolling against the sand. Smelling the warm sun in the air. As you breathe in the warm air, relax your your body.  Starting with your forehead and eyebrows softening. Unclench your jaw. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. Open your palms. Wiggle your toes in the sand. Spend your time breathing this all in. Until you feel complete here. And then, imagine yourself getting up from your tree and walking away from the beach. Remembering that you can come back to this spot whenever you want. As you’re ready, open your eyes.

Mental Rehearsal:

Close your eyes and start to focus on your breathing. Take full, deep breaths. Soften your forehead and your eyes. Unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders down and away from your ears. Breath in more deeply. Filling your lungs with your inhales. Emptying them with your exhales. When you are fully in this space, start to see yourself accomplishing your upcoming task perfectly. Imagine all of the details of that day. See the clothes you’ll be wearing. Smell the air around you. See the faces of others there. Hear the sounds that will be in the air. And then, feel the emotions you anticipate feeling while you engage in the activity. See yourself move through all parts of this event. From the lacing of your shoes, to the relief and joy of finishing. Take time to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. Take a few deep breaths and reopen your eyes.

These are just two examples of ways to utilize visualization. What else have you tried? Leave me a comment, or get in touch!

Yours in wellness,

Leave a Reply