I was with some of my gal pals this weekend, discussing what motivates us to make the big changes in our lives. Most of us agreed that any time we’d successfully met a challenge or reached a goal (like exercising more and whining less), we visualized or fanaticized the desired outcome over and over again. Granted, sometimes the goals were not that deep, (like looking good for a 20-year high class school reunion), but visualizing the outcome in our mind’s eye helped us get off our duffs and begin the work necessary to reach our goal.
Marie Dalloway, PhD, talks about visualization techniques as a language that builds success. Visualization techniques are often used by elite athletes to enhance performance. Although, positive internal dialogue is an important tool in creating changes in behavior and beliefs, visualization involves use of mental images, not just our thoughts. Dalloway says, "Images or pictures are the primary content of visualizations because words cannot be generated at a fast enough rate to describe events as they occur." There’s a physical reaction within our bodies that occurs when we think this way — a link between belief and behavior.
Visualization somehow seems to activate a unique power within our brains that tells us what we see is real, even if it hasn’t materialized itself just yet. There’s a significant difference between talking to ourselves about wanting to be healthy, fit and more active and creating a realistic and detailed movie inside our head creating that scenario. Think of it, you’re the producer of your own theatrical production where you’re the writer, director and star!
We all look for inspiration, motivation and support when trying to make important changes in our lives. So, why not stop thinking about being happier and start visualizing it? For even more interesting insights around how this practice may help you meet your healthy lifestyle goals visit this e-zine article written by Dr. Annette Colby, RD, on Creative Visualization.
Painting by Yolanda Gonzalez. Click here to view more of her beautiful portraits of women.