Visualization is a word that is everywhere in the self help world, which for the purposes of this article, will be defined as a technique by which we imagine something we want in the hope of getting or attaining what it is we are visualizing. It has been called the grandest use of our imagination, and can be used to help keep the body young.
Visualization has been used very successfully in the professional sports world for decades. From the runner seeing himself crossing the finish line in first place, to the quarterback seeing himself throwing the winning pass. Thousands of studies prove its effectiveness, and we can use this for ourselves, starting today!
Here is your simple recipe visualize a younger you!
- Define what it is you want from your body.
Do you want to walk better? Stand taller? Have more energy? Define this and ideally write it down.
- Then visualize yourself doing (participating) in your chosen activity.
Here is where it gets fun, and where most people fail. (We are of course assuming you are visualizing something that is actually possible, not running the final pass of a football game if your knees are shot!) Visualizing yourself doing something with your body means to leave logic out of the vision. Leaving logic out of the vision means seeing yourself doing this something, even if you can’t do this today. Don’t add logic to it, just see it, for example:
- Seeing yourself in a crowd of people and having good balance, so good that you are actually feeling good balance in your body!
- Seeing yourself walking down a street, and you just feel great, happy, able to breathe, lifting up tall!
- Seeing yourself driving and feeling calm and secure of your driving skills!
- Seeing yourself dancing with a partner and having a wonderful time, feeling great! (Or for that matter, perhaps imagining something more intimate…)
- Spend a few minutes on this everyday; seeing and feeling your bodily goal!
And that’s it: Define it, see it, and feel it!
Do you see how the word feeling is mentioned quite a bit? Feeling is very important because feeling something begins to program your nerves. I use this technique a lot when a person is recovering from a nasty fall after therapy. Sometimes they can have trouble walking because the nerves in their body are afraid (and rightfully so) that they could fall over again, and there is no sense in telling that person to relax while they’re walking, their body is busy protecting them. What’s the solution? Visualize.
I have that person sit on the edge of their bed or chair, and imagine they are walking and somehow, by some miracle, they are walking, feeling confident and safe, and most importantly- breathing! This allows them to begin again to feel good about what they want to accomplish physically in a safe way.
Can you see that without the ability to visualize, old injuries and stored bodily fears can stop you from getting back to freedom after a setback. Yes the doctor and PT have to give you a clearance to live again, but the biggest part is spending those few minutes, everyday, imagining shopping easily, driving easily, getting the mail, taking out the trash, going up and down those stairs, all feeling good and safe.
If you don’t visualize what you want, you could end up repeating old patterns, even if your circumstances change for the better! I have seen this happen thousands of times!
This is common in the exercise and therapy industry. A patient has healed and is still limping, or afraid to fall, or just wired for the past event. Certainly, many health issues can’t be avoided, but there are millions of people walking around right now, unconsciously living what they don’t want. I could simplify the process by saying, if you don’t create the vision of what you want your body to do tomorrow, you’ll keep doing what you’re doing today, no matter how much exercise you do.
For those of you that know me, I have severe scoliosis of the spine. There are days when I go to bed with my back so twisted, that my right shoulder blade is sticks out so far I can’t rest on my back comfortably. I end up, on those nights, having to do all kinds of exercises to so I can sleep! And those exercises begin with me visualizing my back up tall, or as you’ve heard me say before- Long and Strong, NOT Down and Round!
Blessings my friends! Keep visualizing the body and life you want; everyday!
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at John@wizardofyouth.com, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org