They say seeing is believing and believe it or not, there's some science behind it
Visualisation is the imagination and creation of ideas, concepts and dreams, pictured with clarity in the mind's eye, usually in pursuit of a greater goal.
It's a way of communicating a message within the brain that there is something you want and seeing how it would look to get it.
For some, the concept of visualisation can conjure a 'head in the clouds' mentality
but there is a scientific basis for how and why the process of visualisation is effective.
More than just a daydream, visualisation is a way of directing the subconscious to attend to our values and goals. It works by targeting all of the five senses, providing distinct sensations, emotions, thoughts and feelings that precede action.
It's worth mentioning that the approach you take to visualisation can impact the outcome. Focusing solely on the end goal can help to keep behaviours and actions on track, but more effective is to also consider visualising the steps getting there.
As an example, when training for a big race, I'll spend significant proportions of time during training envisioning myself crossing the line and basking in the glory of achieving my goal. This is a particularly useful strategy for getting me through the tougher times, when the miles feel like a slog or i'm lacking motivation. I then introduced more specificity, by bringing to my mind images of myself at various points on the course, imagining the way my body feels, tuning into to my breathing. I imagine myself getting through the parts that hurt, tackling a hill, battling rough weather or distracting myself with mental games through boring sections.
Admittedly, it's a technique that's taken some work to refine, but now I find I can break my visualisation down into small steps so that come race day, things feel almost familiar.
My mind has been there before.
The brain is a clever organ.
When participating in visualisation, neural pathways are made simply through the imagination & activity is diverted in pursuit of wants and values.
The pre-motor cortex is activated and the brain learns the visualisations and stores them for future reference. Then when the opportunity to actually 'live' the experience occurs, the brain is equipped with what it needs to do.
In a way, visualisation is a form of planning.
Utilising the minds capacity with intentional and directional thinking, to satisfy your individual needs.
Visualisation can be a hugely powerful tool to have in your kit, for bringing attention, presence and action;
& now and again, it's nice to let the mind wander into dreamland.