What is Visualization?

By Val Silver

What is visualization? Visualizing is a natural, normal function of your brain. The subconscious mind thinks and communicates through images.  You visualize whenever you use your imagination to picture someone or something, to imagine a future event, and to relive a past event. You have the ability to see whatever you want in your mind's eye at will. Images also spontaneously appear as you think and talk about something. You could even say that the dreams you see in your sleep are visualized. 

what is visualization, butterfly on flower

The Power of Visualization

When you harness your natural ability to imagine, and use mental rehearsal as a manifestation technique to create what you want, you are putting the power of visualization techniques to work for you. 

Visualization and affirmations work because they condition or program the subconscious mind. 

Even though you may have limited control over some of what enters your brain through your eyes and ears throughout the day, you have more control than you might think. You have the power to choose the social media you look at, the videos you watch, and the music you listen to. Although it takes practice, you have the power to stop images and their accompanying self-talk that run counter to your heart's desires.

Through the power of visualization, you can intentionally program your subconscious mind to pay attention to what you want and to create the chemicals that support it. With the help of positive images, mental rehearsal, and supportive suggestions, you expose your subconscious mind to messages of your choosing. In turn, it executes programming that focuses on what you want, attracts what you want, alerts you to opportunities, encourages you to take desired action, and reinforces positive habits. 

What is really important to remember about visualization is that everything you regularly imagine with your inner sight, self-talk, and emotion becomes your reality. What you focus on for a few minutes a day and then forget about is not powerful enough to override your habitual thoughts. If you visualize yourself in vibrant health for five minutes a day and focus on how sick you are for hours, that will primarily reinforce what you do not want. If you see yourself smiling and feel joy while holding hands with your beloved for a few minutes, your brain will send your body a burst of feel-good chemicals. If you spend the rest of the day feeling sorry for yourself because you don't have a beloved, your brain chemistry will reinforce that. This is why the spiritual admonition to guard your thoughts and your heart is so important. The images and words that enter and flow through your mind shape who you are , how you experience your life, and who you become. 

What are Visualization Techniques?

When people ask, "What is visualization?" they are usually referring to visualization techniques used for manifesting. That type of visualization happens when you purposely bring to mind specific images or scenes representing what you want to create or attract into your life. 

For example, if you want to have a fit, trim body, you might imagine yourself looking buff as you stroll on the beach in a swimsuit. Or you might see yourself energetically lobbing balls on a tennis court or romping in the yard with the grandkids.

Visualization techniques help you intentionally and effectively put the power of visualization to work for you. Some methods are stand alone. Others are guided by another, live or by audio, to keep you focused and provide support.

  • Visualization is a way of seeing what you want in your mind's eye as if you have it. When visualizing, you enter a calm state, or even a meditation. You vividly see and feel what you want to experience.  Visualization is often used to facilitate healing. For example: chemotherapy patients are encouraged to see their cancer cells being gobbled up or changed back to normal and to imagine feeling good after treatments.
  • Mental rehearsal is a way of practicing what you want to accomplish or get good at. When developing a skill or preparing for an event, you vividly see and feel yourself doing the action in your mind as if you were actually doing it. Your brain accepts the images and dialogue you create as real. It sends chemical messages throughout your body to respond. Using the power of mental rehearsal and imagination, you make actual changes in your brain and body. Research has proven this to be a very effective way to improve, especially when you later pair it with action. Speaking personally, I was able to touch my toes after one week of mental practice only. That may not sound like a big deal, but after five years of compromised range of motion from a ruptured disk and nerve damage, that was a really big deal.
  • Guided imagery audios offer the benefit of a skilled guide who walks you through the process of positive visualization for your goal. These programs may also include video, music and/or affirmations.
  • Guided hypnosis is an effective way to access the subconscious mind and influence it with mental imaging and affirmations. You can work live with a hypnotherapist or use quality audios.
  • Guided Healing and Relaxation videos and audios let you sit back, relax and take in the visual and spoken messages that encourage inner calm and healing.
  • Vision boards are visual displays of your goal. They are fun and easy to create. The images on the board remind you of your goals every time you see it.
  • Mind movies are short videos containing images of you want to manifest. Lively background music and visual affirmations are often included. Mind movies are engaging and fun to use. 
  • Affirmations are written or spoken positive goal statements that often go hand in hand with visualizing. Used together, each technique has the potential to magnify the effect of the other. 
  • Subliminal and paraliminal affirmations are played in the background as you go about your day or meditate and visualize. The main difference between the two is that you can consciously hear the paraliminals, but not the subliminal messages.

What is visualization? It is a powerful manifestation technique that gets your mind body connection on board for achieving your goals.  When used correctly for your best advantage, it can help you change how you think and feel, and how your body responds and heals. 

Continue Reading: How to Use Visualize and Affirm Health and Life Goals

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What is Visualization page updated 01/2021

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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