Have you ever heard the saying “mind over matter?” This saying wouldn’t have stuck around for so long if it didn’t have some value of truth. Imagery also known as visualization is an exercise that involves forming mental pictures, or “seeing with the mind’s eye.” It is a mental simulation of an experience. The health benefits that come from strengthening your mind are insurmountable in application to your life. Through practice of mental imagery we can enhance our awareness, build the ability to focus, improve sensory motor skills and elevate our level of creativity and problem solving skill.

In a therapeutic atmosphere visualization and imagery are often incorporated with elements of relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing. This combination of techniques facilitates harmony between body and mind leading you onto a path of wisdom and personal growth .It increases confidence allowing you to overcome limitations, helping you to achieve almost any goal you set for yourself.

The average person does not use these systematically, so who uses these mental strategies? Actors, artists, business executives, dancers, elite athletes, writers and others… Guided imagery is incorporated in stress management. It is utilized in clinics to ease the transition of surgical procedures, and used as an alternative to drugs for pain control, depression or anxiety.

How do you visualize? In order to visualize you must first suspend judgment and use your imagination actively. Here is a basic program to get you started or refine your technique:

1. Relax – practice deep breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply into your lower lungs allowing your abdomen to expand more than your upper chest. Slowly exhale gently pushing the air out of your lower lungs. Breathe out from your abdomen more than your chest. Use your abdominal muscles to gently push the air out. Do not force your breath. Concentrate on lengthening and expanding with each progressive breath. Take 5-10 seconds to breathe in and 5-10 seconds to breathe out. With practice this movement of breath will become fluent, even, and regular. When performed correctly deep breathing stimulates circulation lowering heart rate, and blood pressure.

2. Find a safe quiet place – begin practicing in the morning upon awakening, or at night before bed. Once you get the hang of it then you can progress to doing it any where or any time throughout the day to help you re-focus or relax.

3. Focus on the process not the results – Pay attention to your breath, let your entire body relax. Monitor your inner monologue. Recognize your thoughts, but don’t dwell on them. If any distracting thoughts occur let them pass through your mind and focus back on your experience. Use your imagination actively to make your images seem real, using as many of your senses as you can. The more vivid your imagination the more effective your practice will be.

4. Think positive – Imagine a goal and what it takes to get there. Envision yourself having already accomplished that goal now backtrack and see yourself taking the necessary steps in reverse. Imagining a successful future creates desire and motivation for you to achieve your goals.

5. Keep at it – consistent use translates to ease of use. As with any other type of exercise benefits don’t come from an individual session. Results are a product of persistence.

Author's Bio: 

For Andrew exercise and healthy living is not just a phase, its a lifestyle and a career. He's a NYC personal trainer who's a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist holds a Bachelors Degree in Health and Wellness with a concentration in Fitness Nutrition. He began working in the Health and Fitness industry right after graduating, and has been his life's career for over 10 years. In addition to his extensive Personal Training experience Anrew has taught Yoga and Tai Chi classes, conducted training workshops, delivered presentations as an expert in his field and designed corporate wellness programs for businesses. He has had the privilege of working with some of the best personal trainers in NYC, well educated physical therapists, and medical doctors. He studied in one of the two centers for creativity studies in the world with the department head, where he was introduced to mind / body self improvement techniques. He currently works with private clients in Manhattan. Discover more of Andrew's personal training secrets here.