"Our imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” - Albert Einstein
Guided Imagery is a practice that engages the power of the imagination and our five senses in positive and proactive ways. It is a successful technique that is supported by substantial scientific evidence to break through self-imposed limitations, enhance self-efficacy, and improve performance. It is used by many Olympic athletes and people across a range of fields
Studies have revealed that mentally rehearsing and imagining an action and actually performing the physical action have virtually the same impact on our brain. Neurons in our brain interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between witnessing and imagining. In other words, the brain experiences the same activity when it imagines doing an action as it does when it is physically doing the action.
Guided imagery under deep relaxation is a powerful way to retrain our subconscious mind to experience something that hasn’t happened yet. When we vividly imagine a future situation, our brain will record it as a real memory as if we have already experienced it. Researches have shown that when we visualize improving health, the body moves towards health. Guided Imagery helps improve our focus, increase confidence, experience what it’s like to overcome our obstacles, and move us towards our goals.
Another reason why Guided Imagery can help us achieve our goals relates to the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is a bundle of neurons found in our brain stem that sorts through massive amounts of information we receive to help us decide what important information gets through and what gets filtered out. Some people think that the key to success lies in the RAS.
The RAS brings relevant information to our attention. It takes what we focus on and creates a filter for it. Our beliefs set the parameters for this filter. The RAS will do what we incline it to do. Every time we imagine a positive outcome, we are telling our RAS where our focus is and what is essential in our life. By imagining and mentally rehearsing our desired outcome enough times, we are training and programming our RAS to reveal information and opportunities that help us achieve our goals. If you believe you are bad at learning new subjects, you probably will be. If you believe learning is easy, you most likely do. Whatever you believe, becomes.
Our emotions and behaviors are influenced by the image we hold of ourselves and this image affects how we approach our life. In order to achieve, we first have to direct our minds to believe that we can achieve. By experiencing the desired outcomes, we are priming our brains for greater success and well-being.