Visualization will help you to discover more energy and joy as you tune in to your inner self. It will also help you gain the competitive edge in your personal and professional relationships. Visualization, or 'mental imaging,' is a powerful skill that can be practiced regularly to improve your communication.

It is a process of relaxation in which you can consciously evoke desired sensations and images. It is as if you are watching yourself and your surroundings on an inner screen. When you allow yourself to visualize, you are giving signals to your body to either increase or decrease sensation. You are in control of your sensations of feeling, hearing, smelling, seeing, color and temperature. Therefore, when you visualize, you control your feelings and thoughts. It is important to communicate positive signals, feelings, or ideas to maximize pleasant thoughts and situations, and eliminate unpleasant thoughts or situations.

To practice visualization, first choose a place that is relatively quiet, and where you can be alone for fifteen to thirty-minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe deeply and calm your body. For practice, imagine yourself sitting on the beach watching the sunset over the ocean . . . listen to the sound of the wind and waves.. . feel the sun as it touches your face . . . see the blue sky, touch the rocks and sand, and focus on anything else that is pleasing to you. Upon completion open your eyes, relax, and get ready for the next segment.

Next, close your eyes and try to create as real an image of the actual situation that you want to change. Focus on what is in the background and the foreground of your surroundings. Now choose a behavior (habit), or a skill, that is important to you. Make sure that it's one that you want to modify or change. It may be a new skill that you want to improve upon such as public speaking. When you have the particular situation in mind, visualize your movements and begin to slow yourself down (breathing deeply). See (in your mind) yourself speaking in front of a group. Listen to what you are saying. Observe your nonverbal gestures. Visualize this segment as if it were in slow motion. Pay attention to your own movements and sounds.

Next, begin to change and correct your verbal and nonverbal behaviors that may be frustrating your communication and performance. Replace your unproductive actions with ones that are more appropriate to improving your skills and increasing your performance. With your eyes still closed, allow yourself to review the situation again, only this time in the normal speed and in the new way. Remember, pay close attention to your verbal and nonverbal communication. You should be filling yourself with feelings of confidence. Imagine the audience applauding.

When you have finished open your eyes. It may be important for you to write down certain parts of your experience. This form of guided imagery can be implemented on a regular basis. Practicing fifteen minutes a day and increasing your time, incrementally, to thirty minutes is recommended.

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