Using imagery for self motivation and better mental health
This article belongs to Joe is Fine, Are you? column.
In my psychology of sport and fitness class we have been discussing
the use of imagery and how it can help performance of those who are athletic. I got to thinking today before I sat down to write my column for this week that it could also apply to other aspects of daily living for those of us who are non athletes as well.
First off let me tell you what imagery is. Imagery involves all the
senses, visual, kinesthetic, auditory, tactile, and olfactory. It also includes moods and emotions. Imagery involves creating or recreating an experience in your mind.
So how can this help the common person in life? Well let's look at this. When you go for a job interview you can use imagery before hand to imagine how you will react to our environment and a perspective employer. You can go over some of the most commonly used questions inyour mind, rehearse how you will shake hands, how you will verbally greet the interviewer and so on.
How about running errands? When you are preparing for your day you can take time inside your head to see your to do list and the movements you will need to execute or each item on your list. Let me give you an example of how it worked for me recently. I was having an issue with getting my printer to work with XP for some reason and I couldn't get the drivers to work. I had an assignment due that was pretty time detailed and so the night before I used imagery to map out how I was going to get over this obstacle so I could get my assignment in on time. I imagined myself sitting at my PC and looking for the articles I needed, imagined myself using Google doc's and my Gmail to maximize my time. I imagined myself sitting in the computer lab at school and accessing the information I had stored in my doc's and and on Gmail and printing them off and I also imagined myself copying off the information out of the book I had used to get some of my material from. I rehearsed this in my head several times before I finally drifted off to sleep and again in the shower the next morning. I had rehearsed it enough that when I sat down to actually do it things clicked and I got everything done in time to successfully get my assignment in when it was due despite the glitch at home.
The great thing about imagery is you can do it anytime anywhere and no one will know you are doing it. You can do it while your waiting in line at the grocery store, it the library, in your car, in the shower, anywhere your at anytime of day or night.
By using imagery you can reduce your anxiety that you may experience in a given situation and it also serves as a mental blueprint as well as strengthens neural pathways.
So the next time your feeling overwhelmed with a task why not take the task in your mind and use imagery to see how you can get it done more effectively. If you have a day where you have several things on the agenda see yourself going through each item, the movements you need to go through to execute each item on the list and then how you perceive the end result.
I would be interested to see how this works for my readers so please I want to offer the following challenge to you this coming week. Take time this week to use imagery. Take your to do list for each day and pick out the more familiar items that you do on a more frequent basis then in your head see yourself executing each one and getting it done. For those who are familiar with the term de' ja vu that is what the task should feel like if you have rehearsed it in your mind enough. Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your results and I will feature them on my blog here and at my weight loss wellness blog Kansans and Friends In Weight Loss with your permission of course.
Have a great week!
P.S. Use positive words when doing imagery it helps reinforce what you hope to accomplish.