Train Your Brain
Visualisation is a key components of many athletes' training programs. Here's how you can use it in your everyday life

June 23, 2011

Imagine a lemon in front of you. Go on, do it. The yellowness of the skin, the dimpled texture, perhaps even a hint of citrus in the air. Now imagine yourself cutting that lemon in half and biting into it. Feel the sour taste explode in your mouth.

The object of that little exercise was to test your powers of imagination. Research has repeatedly proven that our ability to imagine – using internal images, sounds, tastes and feelings to recreate an experience – is a huge untapped resource, one that we’re only just beginning to understand.

“Mental imagery is also critical when organizing our lives on a day-to-day basis. Being able to imagine objects and scenarios is “one of the fundamental abilities that allows us to successfully think about and plan future events,” says Joel Pearson of the University of New South Wales. Mental imagery “allows us to, in a sense, run through a dress rehearsal in our mind’s eye.”

Athletes use this power to run through sporting scenarios in their minds. This consistent imagining creates new neural pathways in the brain which allows them to respond better in real life.

Here are 2 ways to use the power of mental rehearsal in your day-to-day life.

Before A Big Presentation

Visualise yourself in front of the audience. What do you experience? Sweaty palms, maybe, or a fluttering feeling in your stomach?

Change It

Imagine yourself being confident, expressive and in control. Picture the audience enjoying your talk, hear the sound of your voice confidently projecting to the back of the room.

In Your Relationship

Visualise yourself during that inevitable fight with the girlfriend. What do you experience? That feeling of anger and the need to be right, perhaps. Or the desire just to walk out and get away from it all.

Change it

Picture yourself calmly listening. Step away from your point of view and listen to hers without judgment. Hear your voice calmly and gently putting forward your own opinion.