July 2, 2018

Article by Jacklyn Janeksela

If you were ever involved in competitions or sports, chances are your coach asked you to imagine winning. How does it look, feel, and sound? At the time, it might have seemed strange: sitting in a locker room, eyes closed, listening to imaginary scenarios. But there’s science behind visualization practices.

Visualization can feel like a hypnosis session. After all, hypnosis is based on manipulating thought patterns through suggestions. And hypnosis, meditation, and visualization actually have similar neurophysiological profiles. Nothing is being done to you; instead, it’s you who is tapping into something deep within your brain folds, accessing your creative power.

Successful people all over the world use visualization to spawn dreams into reality realms. Visualization is just concentrated dreaming. It’s mind over matter. It’s constructing life from a space inside our brains.

When digging a little deeper, visualization becomes less about winning and more about self-improvement than anything else. With visualization, you can create a world built from your own energies and desires. There are so many reasons why it will help you grow as a person. And there are so many ways you can do it.

With visualization, you can create a world built from your own energies and desires.

Here are a few of the things that visualization can do for your wellbeing when it becomes part of your routine:

5 Major Benefits of Visualization

1. Builds Courage

Visualization provides plenty of strength and courage to tackle daunting tasks. Afraid to get on stage? Nervous about an upcoming performance? Unsure of how to win that competition? Using visualization triggers hormones and synapses that make it easier to achieve those goals. When you’ve already envisioned the scenario, the real thing will feel familiar and much more feasible. It will be as if you’ve done it before. And inside your brain, you have.

When you’ve already envisioned the scenario, the real thing will feel familiar and much more feasible.

2. Combats Negativity

Visualization brings moments of positivity in a world sometimes full of negativity. So often, people respond to dreams with statements like, "How will you do that?" or "That’s going to be so hard to accomplish." And yeah, sure, it will be hard, but you’re totally up for the challenge. During a visualization session, you get to live out your dreams despite what others say. It’s an effective way to battle that negative voice inside your own head, too.

3. Bolsters Creativity

Visualization allows creative moments to exist, something the mind desperately needs. We tend to exist in scheduled spaces and confines of time. Fostering a practice that gives your mind a break from the mundane will be a relief to your psyche. Our brains need breaks—ones full of promise and fantastical visions, ones free from the chains of social constructs and full of creativity.

Our brains need breaks.

4. Gathers Energies

Finally, visualization fulfills the law of attraction, which facilitates dream building. Energy goes where attention flows. Want something badly enough? Then go ahead and dwell on it in healthy, optimistic ways. The more you visualize yourself living the life you want, the sooner universal energies will align with you to give you what you want. But don’t forget that being proactive is required and supports your visualization practice.

Energy goes where attention flows.

5. Fosters Purpose

Visualization can lead to belief in yourself and a fulfilling life. When we lose hope, we lose so much. Hope is a catalyst for change. Discover what you long for, and visualize it every chance you get. You won’t be sorry. Actually, you’ll be amazed at how that personalized longing will propel you in directions you didn’t think were possible. Visualization can make that happen, but first you’ve got to believe.

If you’re on board with the benefits of visualization, the next question is: How? There are plenty of ways to have a visualization session—it’s only a matter of finding out what works best for you and your schedule.

Here, five visualization practices you can start today:

Morning Visualization:

Before you even open your eyes to get out of bed, try to create the day you want in your mind—down to minute details. Imagine yourself winning the day and being surrounded by positive forces. Then, imagine yourself dealing with tough moments with grace. Prepare yourself for the day, whatever it may bring.

Commute Visualization:

Instead of idly sitting by while getting where you need to go, use your commute time to visualize what you want out of your day. What's the first thing you want to tackle? What kind of attitude do you want to have about it? Get carried away with your visualization scenes—go ahead, dream big. Let visualization propel you toward activity. You’ll be soothed by your dreams, even in a commuter’s nightmare.

Let visualization propel you toward activity.

Walking Visualization:

While strolling through any green space, let your mind wander, too. Take note of the ground beneath your feet and the world around you, but also consider the path ahead of you. What do you want it to look like? How should it feel? Visualize the world you want to step into.

Lunchbreak Visualization:

For those who enjoy eating alone, this is the perfect time to reflect. Ask yourself how you’d like things to be better or how you can improve, then picture yourself doing those things. When you visualize yourself taking action, you set up neural pathways that make the actual activities easier.

When you visualize yourself taking action, you set up neural pathways that make the actual activities easier.

Nighttime Visualization:

When unwinding before bed, try to think of peaceful goals that settle the mind and body. Maybe it's visualizing yourself taking care of things tomorrow—so you don't have to fall asleep feeling frantic about when things will get done. Or, maybe it's imagining yourself waking up refreshed, ready to take on the day. You deserve to rest, and visualizing a good night's sleep can help you make it happen.

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.

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