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Visualization and Imagination

Believe It!

Even though I cannot see them, I believe in electromagnetic waves. These are the things that fly through the air and allow us to communicate on our cell phones. This is a REAL thing and we can see what it does.

Imagination and visualization are just as real – just as physical – and now, through the study of neuroscience, scientists are able to prove this.

Reach for the cup of coffee and you automatically activate a host of systems in your body: visual, balance, muscular control, etc. But, how do you do it? Certainly, we don’t do it consciously by saying to ourselves, "open your fingers, contract your triceps to extend the elbow, now you are getting close so slow down". What we do is imagine ourselves reaching for the coffee mug and it "magically" happens.

Imagine It Happening

Watch an infant or a stroke victim attempt to pick up something. They must learn a skill that they don’t possess. They do this by imagining and visualizing the hand performing the desired task. This process of imagining the hand moving fires off the neurons in the brain associated with this particular movement program. Repetitive firing of the same neurons causes the neurons to increase their connections (or grow new dendrites) and improves their conductivity (through the production of myelin). This is how we get better at things that we practice.   brain cells - imagination can grow new neural connections

But, wait. The infant is not REALLY picking up the object but only imagining it. That is correct. Simply imagining and visualizing an activity is enough to make you better at it. There is a story of a prisoner of war who, in order to keep from going crazy, intensely visualized playing a round of golf. He visualized standing on the first tee, taking the club back, the sound of hitting the ball, and the flight of the ball against the blue sky. He visualized the entire round of golf until the final putt fell into the cup and he heard the sound. He did this every day for 7 years. When he returned to the U.S., he played a round of golf and shot 74 even though he had never before shot better than 80! Similar results have been observed with pianists who practice music by "seeing" themselves playing it. Without actually playing the music, they get better at it.

visualization - seeing the future   Yes, just thinking about getting better is enough to make you better. However, I must warn you that this IS NOT EASY! Quality visualization requires a large amount of effort. The more clearly you can see yourself performing the new movement the more the benefit. The more intensely you can feel the surroundings and emotions associated with the performance, the faster you will create new neural connections and grow new myelin.

Practice Through Visualization

Now, I don’t know if this golf story is true. But, I know that every exceptional athlete and musician I have met uses this technique. They are obsessed with getting better so they practice, practice, and then they practice some more. Then, when they cannot practice anymore, they sit down (or lie down) and think about it. This is when they spend some quality time “seeing? themselves performing better than they actually have been during practice. This imagination and visualization is essential to creating a "new and improved" you.

Yes, just thinking about getting better is enough to make you better. However, I must warn you that this IS NOT EASY! Quality visualization requires a large amount of effort. The more clearly you can see yourself performing the new movement the more the benefit. The more intensely you can feel the surroundings and emotions associated with the performance, the faster you will create new neural connections and grow new myelin.   the perfect golf swing

 

Add visualization and imagination to the practice of whatever you want to get better at and your skill will increase. This will work with sports movements, musical skills, presentation abilities, relationships, etc. This applies to everything! Just imagine all of the good things you can do with this new knowledge.

 

 

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The Kettlebell Club
Teaches people to become better at living their life. Whether its related to strength, sports or just plain old daily activities. We have people of all shapes, sizes and abilities taking the same classes and excelling!
 
 
 
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