Mind, Body & Spirit

Why you should visualize

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

To achieve our goals effectively, we need to learn how to visualize. It’s a powerful skill. Our brains have a system called the Reticular Activating System in a network of neurons. It’s a filter system that moderates what we absorb. We create the programs for the filter.

Have you ever gone shopping for something and then you narrow it down to the exact thing you would want to buy, for example, a bike and then suddenly you see the same bike everywhere? That is your Reticular Activating System (RAS) at work. The Reticular Activating System is the attention center in the brain. It is the key to “turning on your brain” You can deliberately program the reticular activating system by choosing the exact messages you send from your conscious mind. For example, you can set goals, say affirmations, or visualize your goals. Second, your reticular activating system cannot distinguish between ‘real events’ and ‘synthetic’ reality. It tends to believe whatever message you give it. Imagine that you’re going to be giving a speech. You can practice giving that speech by visualizing it in your mind. This ‘pretend’ practice will improve your ability to give the speech.

Setting goals work, in part, because we set our RAS to pay attention to the things that will help us achieve the goal! Your RAS is working, whether you have set it intentionally or not. Knowing this, Doesn’t it make sense to set goals so that you can program your RAS to pay attention to things you desire? “Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Believe, it Can Achieve” Napoleon Hill 

Depending on how we feel, the RAS will look for evidence in our lives to confirm that belief through our day hence confirmation biases. Our minds read things we agree with because this confirms our filter. The reason for the filter is to protect ourselves. If our brain took everything in equal value, it wouldn’t handle the information. There’s so much information in our environment, around us, digital media and so on. Knowing that we have a filter, we need to consciously create the desired filter to achieve desired goals.

With the help of visualization, we reprogram the RAS so that our brains can start to spot opportunities, coincidences to build momentum and evidence towards growth. A visualization based on science; if your goal is to improve your self-worth, in your mind’s eye see how your life looks with improved self-worth. See yourself happy, wealthy, healthy and peaceful. Then feel the positive emotions of the results such as confidence in handling your work or joy in your relationship. Doing these, trains the brain to have a new filter. As stated earlier, the brain doesn’t know the difference between the bad things that happened to you from real memories and the imagined memories you are creating. When you visualize being healthy and going to the gym, being prosperous and making more sales; the brain encodes these as real memories giving you more security and confidence.

The more you visualize yourself doing things, the more you improve the skills for the same activities just as you were actually doing the thing. The reason you start believing over time is that you are reprogramming your brain. You are changing the network of neurons that act as a filter. Your mind will stop looking for reasons not to and just do; from the confidence built over time.

Daily visualize having a smooth successful day, see yourself in the planned activities of the day and with the help of your mind you’ll achieve most of the goals visualized. Every single day, spare some time and see what it looks like from the end, how it feels to have achieved your day’s plans. How does it feel to have the desired bank balance, how does it feel to be in the desired home, to be in the desired job? It will feel good. Your filter over time will look for evidence to support the achievement of the goals and your habits towards attaining the goals will change for the better. 

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