HOW TO DEVELOP WORLD CLASS MENTAL RESILIENCE
Harness the Power of Visualisation
A technique involving focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal
What Happens During Visualisation?
Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.
Every time we visualise, we create a pathway in the brain that gets broader the more we visualise. Chemicals are released into the brain, which create this pathway. There comes a point when the pathway is so broad that it causes us to do things subconsciously. For example, professional swimmers will get up at 4AM every day to get to the pool and swim. This takes great dedication and effort, and the ones who make it to the top are the ones who visualise themselves training and racing over and over again.
By doing this, they have created a very powerful pathway in the mind that gets them up in the morning without their conscious mind being aware of it. The subconscious takes over and they do things automatically.
DOES VISUALISATION REALLY WORK?
Visualisation is a technique used by successful people in all walks of life. If you really want something to come to fruition, then you have to put your imaginative mind to work.
Research shows that we change brain structure through repetition of imagining movements. Brain scans of people playing piano versus people imagining playing piano showed the same degree of changes in the same areas of the brain. But to achieve the changes involves repetition of the movements – real or imaginary. When we stop doing the work, the brain regions shrink again. This is why consistency is vital. You don’t become an Olympic champion by going to the gym once. It’s important to do consistent visualisation practice to get the best results.
See the right result in front of you, rehearse in your mind the game you are going to play, watch yourself accepting your degree at college or walking down that aisle. There are no limitations – the only limit is your own mind, so start dreaming big.
Research was also undertaken in America with the Olympic team, where they studied the impact of visualisation on their athletes. They put electrodes on athletes and measured the muscle movements as they ran a race. They then had the same athletes sit in an armchair and visualise the same race just in their imagination. To their astonishment, they found that the same muscles fired off in the same sequence – with much smaller movements, but they were still there.
This is why Jack Nicklaus, the best golfer in history, never hit a shot in practice or in a match without first seeing every shot in his mind ‘like a colour movie’. We now know that he was actually physically practicing the shot even though he was only visualising in his mind. Even though the muscle movements were tiny, they still had an impact in his game. Nowadays all top sports professionals use visualisation techniques to help their game.
Another experiment using visualisation...
In another experiment on visualisation, four schools were chosen across a state in America and the basketball team from each school was split into three groups. They were all assessed for their accuracy in shooting free shots, where they stand 15 feet from the basket and try to get the ball in the basket.
• The first group then had to shoot free shots for an hour a day for 30 days
• The second group had to do nothing
• The third group had to visualise shooting baskets for an hour a day for 30 days.
When they had completed the task, they were assessed again to see what improvement if any had been achieved. The results were staggering. The first group, who actually practised the shooting, improved by 24%. The second group, who hadn’t practised at all, went backwards by 4%. Finally the third group, who only visualised practising, improved by an amazing 23%. This is remarkable but can be attributed to the fact that muscles are firing off even when visualising alone.
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John has played basketball both as a professional and for England in the Commonwealth Games and once scored an unprecedented 98 points in one match and this remains the current British record to his day. He was a top performing premier league basketball club manager for the Manchester Giants. He then went on to become a high achieving radio sales manager and a multi award winning agency director in the advertising and marketing world.
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