I was recently interviewed on Facebook Live by the Rider Fitness – Riding Without Backpain community where I shared about the power of “Imagery” to decrease pain and improve performance. The concept of imagery is so mighty and it is used so successfully by high performing athletes, successful leaders, inspirational speakers and people who want to improve their lives. Imagery is used more and more in the area of rehabilitation and prevention. Physical exercise coupled with imagery is extremely potent. There have been various studies that concluded if we use both mental and physical practice we improve our results significantly.

How Does Imagery Work?

All the time we have images on our mind, images that inspire us or images that increase worry and doubt. We actually think in pictures. Just pay attention to what’s on your mind all day – your thoughts and images.

We know the body’s performance is an expression of what is going on in our mind, and our subconscious keeps us on an autopilot all day unless we interject and take charge of our life. As it has been illustrated many times with the “lemon example,” the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what is “real” and what is imagined. Let’s visit the concepts of the lemon example: think right now of a lemon—a beautiful, fully ripe, yellow and juicy lemon. Imagine feeling its texture and smelling the freshness of its aroma. Now, in your imagination, take a knife and cut the lemon in half. Look at the two halves you have in your hands, you see the texture and mouthwatering juice. Take one of the lemon halves and bite into it. What do you taste and feel? How does your body react? Most likely your mouth watered and your lips puckered from the tart taste. Perhaps your whole body reacted and you felt your body tightening up.
Now, think about this experience, did you really bite into a lemon? You might say, “yes” but I want to remind you that you did not. You only reacted to an image of a lemon, the stored experiences in your subconscious mind regarding the taste of a lemon.

Motor Imagery

Like your body reacts to a lemon, you can use this concept to reach your goal. In motor imagery, we are imagining an action or function of the body without actually performing it. Understanding and practicing motor imagery has become more and more important in success training, sports and self-healing.
Imagery activates the same brain cells as if you were actually performing the activity. Thus if we use both mental and physical practice we boost our performance. Whether you want to progress your golf game, climb a challenging mountain, run a race, ride and compete at a horse show, enhance your wellbeing or develop better functionality after a surgery or an event causing you pain and weakness, you can use the same powerful approach. You can magnify your motor functions through imagery; you have the capacity to use your mental muscles to amplify your results. In addition, you can build new neural pathways not only with new behaviors, but also through your imagination.

Practicing Imagery

Visualization is not the same as imagery. To practice results producing imagery contact me to tailor your practice to your specific situation and needs.
It is important to rehearse mentally the activity in detail and the desired results.

You want to be very clear on your goal and the actual activity or movement of performing each step of it. Many individuals make the mistake here that they focus on what they don’t want for example, feeling the pain when they are performing an activity, worrying about something not going well, and so on.

Effective imagery is a multisensory experience; only visualizing your goal will not bring the results. You will be astonished how real your movement will become – and therefore boost your performance – once you work with a coach on involving your five senses.
Lastly, you want to learn how to get involved with positive emotions and excitement with what you want, the feeling, the outcome and the success. Let’s get started today! Contact me for a free Discovery Session .

Author's Bio: 

Ulrike Berzau, Executive Coach & Consultant, works with individuals, teams and organization to achieve exceptional results in life and business. With extensive experience as healthcare executive, she is known for providing highly respected insights and creative solutions to secure continuous advancement and excellence. Ulrike has an unwavering passion for igniting the talent and brilliance in others and her international and multicultural experiences allow her to relate to a diverse audience. Her ambitious, yet well balanced, positive and inspiring mindset is the catalyst of her own success and assures the success of clients, staff and organizations.

Ulrike is the co-author of the International Best-Seller Imagine a Healthy You and an inspirational speaker. She is certified as Thinking into Results Consultant, Passion Test Facilitator, ASAP Engagement Consultant and Achieve Today Coach, and holds a Master’s Degree in Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science, Physical Therapy, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.