Did you know that you have an awesome “superpower” that can help you achieve your goals and dreams? It’s called your subconscious mind. Although many people have never learned how to tap into this power, it truly is possible to harness your subconscious mind to help you achieve success?
One of the most effective tools for programming your subconscious mind is visualization (known in the sports world as mental imagery). For decades, athletes, actors, business men and women, sports psychologists, olympic champions, pro-golfers, public speakers, entrepreneurs, and many other successful individuals have learned to utilize the power of visualization to create a mental blueprint of what they want to occur in real life. With practice anyone can learn to use visualization to create an image in their mind of the successful outcomes they hope to obtain. At Positivity Life, we call this ability Vision Mindset.
When I was a senior in high school I was quite chubby. I used mental imagery/vision mindset to help me lose my extra weight. As a 17 year-old, I’d read these words from Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” That idea changed the trajectory of my life because it helped me get rid of the old limiting beliefs and the chubby self-image and start envisioning myself at my ideal weight. Once my beliefs changed, my actions soon followed, and then it became a lifestyle change. From that time forward, because I learned to envision myself differently, I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight (except during pregnancy, of course). Now, all these years later, I’m grateful for the health benefits which visualization has allowed me to enjoy.
How does it work? Studies reveal that focused efforts in visualization are effective because your subconscious mind does not like conflict. If you are consistently visualizing the accomplishment of a goal, your subconscious mind will go to work to get you closer to that goal. In fact, brain studies show that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. Visualization impacts many of the cognitive processes in the brain (motor control, perception, planning, memory, and attention). As you visualize, you are actually training your subconscious mind and stimulating your reticular activating system (RAS) to help you accomplish your goals.
Research indicates that a practice of daily visualization can accelerate the achievement of your dreams, goals and ambitions. It can help you increase your confidence and self-efficacy, enhance your motivation, improve your motor performance and help you achieve success in multiple areas of your life.
One of the reasons this works is because of the reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is the automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention. The reticular activating system is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious.
Visualization uses your RAS to help you accomplish your goals and desires in these three important ways:
1.) It activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.
2.) It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources, people and circumstances you will need to achieve your dreams.
3.) It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.
Another interesting reason why visualization is so effective is because your reticular activating system cannot distinguish between ‘real events’ and ‘synthetic’ reality. In fact, it tends to believe whatever message you give it. For this reason athletes and other successful individuals all across the planet use visualization to help them harness the power of their subconscious mind to help them achieve their desired goals.
How do you do it? Visualization is really quite simple. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax and imagine — with all of your senses, in as vivid detail as you can — what you would be looking at if the dream you have were already realized. Imagine being inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes at the ideal result. It’s also powerful to visualize the process and milestones required to reach your goal and the actions you would take to reach them. When visualizing, it’s helpful to allow your emotions to flow, and actually feel the excitement of achieving your dream. Focus on both the outward as well as the inward manifestations of accomplishing your goal. For example, losing 20 pound would make you look thinner outwardly and inwardly it may give you increased confidence and greater feelings of health and vitality.
Visualizations can be created from your own imagination, read from a script or listened to as an audio. Other tools to help you develop a vision mindset are affirmations (especially if they are process oriented and linked to visualizations), and vision boards (where you post pictures of your goals and dreams and focus on them daily).
Of course, it takes action and determination to back up your visualization tools, but if you know where you want to go, it’s very likely you can utilize your super powerful subconscious mind into helping you get there.