One of the very first self-help positive psychology books I ever bought was a book called Mind Power by John Kehoe and it still sits on my bookshelf as one of my special collection.
According to John Kehoe, what you focus on you attract. Mind Power is simply directing your thoughts to a desired outcome. Kehoe states: “Our thoughts are forever trying to express themselves in our lives, and the sooner we realize that our thoughts are creative forces, the sooner we can design our lives with clarity and purpose.” Obviously a step further is to learn how to work with negative thoughts that crop up and eliminate or replace them with positive thoughts that help us move forward in our lives.
One strategy is to focus daily on what we want by using a technique called visualization. Kehoe states that “Visualization is simply mental rehearsal. You create images in your mind of you having or doing whatever it is you want and you repeat those images over and over again. The trick is not to hope you’ll achieve something or build confidence that it will happen one day, but to actually live and feel it.See yourself being successful, closing the deal, healing the illness and stepping out with confidence.”
It is important to understand that our sub-conscious mind does not differentiate between what is real and what is imagined, and this is why we act on images we create, whether or not these images really reflect our current reality. This is why we need to train our minds to visualize the outcomes we want. When you imagine yourself performing perfectly and doing exactly what you want, new neural patterns are created in your brain and the thought stimulates the nervous system in the same way the actual event does.
Here are four basic steps to get you started and into the habit of visualizing your goals:
- Set your goal and your intended outcome by deciding on something you want, or would like to work towards or create.
- Create a clear idea and a mental picture imagining yourself already in the situation or having reached the goal. Make the picture detailed.
- Practice regularly by focusing on the mental picture often. This will reinforce it and help with integrating it into your life
- Direct positive energy to it and maintain positive thoughts.
A perfect example is competitive sport where strong physical skills are not enough. A strong mental attitude and focus is what makes a winner. Research has shown that athletes and performers who mentally rehearse their performances have helped eliminate nerves before an event and have achieved higher levels of performance.
The benefits of visualization can put you on the road to success and have been shown to:
- Inspire and motivate
- Help people focus better to achieve their goals and intended outcomes
- Improve in a sport or skill
- Acquire new positive behaviors and habits
- Boost mood and serotonin levels
- Build self-confidence
Sounds too simple? It actually is but to reap the benefits of the technique of visualization requires practice. Definitely worth a try. Start small and pick one goal to start with.
This month’s mantra is by Alfred A.Montapert:
“To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan…believe…act!”