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 may times with the “lemon example,” the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what is “real” and what is imagined.

Let's revisit 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. A very powerful technique is called Motor Imagery - it’s 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.
Visualization and imagery activate the same brain cells as if you were actually performing the activity. There have been various studies that all concluded if we use both mental and physical practice we improve our results drastically. Whether you want to progress your golf game, climb a challenging mountain, run or bike a race, ride 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. We know the body’s performance is an expression of what is going on in our mind! That is why it is very powerful to practice motor imagery.

Practice imagery:

Rehearsing mentally the activity and results, as often as possible, short or long, it all adds up and leads you to your desired results.
Take time to imagine your chosen goal, the actual activity or movement of performing each step of it. For example, let's go walking or running along the beach. Imagine the detail of the activity and strengthen that picture by using your five senses. You feel the sand under your feet, the wind blowing; you smell the ocean air and hear the waves. You add the feeling of excitement to it; the freedom of being on the ocean, running against the wind or in the sun. Whatever resonates with your goal.

You can apply this exercise to any activity - public speaking, important meetings, improving your sport performance and enhancing your health. It all starts with creating the mental picture of performing the activity, strengthening the image and feeling by adding your five senses, excitement and repetition. This is the key to your success.

Now you can take your results into your own hands and improve your success, physical performance and wellbeing through the power of imagery.

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.