Why making a mental Mind Movie will change your life.
Repeatedly visualising yourself taking the steps necessary for you to achieve your goal will lay down a “mental blueprint” in your brain to make it easier when you come to take those steps in reality.
Example: Marathon Running
Regular training is the process necessary to achieve the goal of completing the marathon.
If you repeatedly visualise the process of getting out of bed, putting on your running clothes and trainers and leaving the house to train, you will effectively lay down a “mental blueprint” for your brain and body follow when your alarm sounds in reality.
This will make it much easier to go for a run in the morning because your brain will have come to expect the process of waking up, getting ready and going straight out to train.
Example: Spider Phobia
Regular exposure to spiders is the process necessary to achieve the goal of dealing with them calmly and rationally.
If you repeatedly visualise the process of finding a glass and a piece of card, placing the glass on top and the card underneath the spider and calmly putting it outside, you will effectively lay down a “mental blueprint” for your brain and body follow when you next encounter a spider in reality.
This will make it much easier for you to deal with spiders because your brain will have come to expect the process of getting the glass and card and calmly removing the spider.
Neuroscientists describe the brain as “plastic” because it is shaped by our experiences rather than being hardwired with fixed ways of working.
Repeating an activity or experience will eventually change the structure of your brain so you can do it on autopilot.
Repeated visualisation of an activity or experience will trigger the same process because the brain can’t tell the difference between our imagined experiences and our real experiences. This means that we can visualise the experiences we want to create a mental blueprint for your brain to use when you come to do the activity in reality.
We can use visualisation to shape our brains to work in the way that we want.
Visualising a physical movement causes electrical activity in the same muscles used during the actual movement.
So just imagining flexing your bicep muscle creates electrical activity in the bicep muscles even though no physical movement has occurred.
Visualisation primes the appropriate muscles for the real physical movement.
This is why successful sportspeople – including Jessica Ennis, Wayne Rooney, Muhammed Ali, Jonny Wilkinson, Andy Murray – all use visualisation to turn them from good performers to great performers.
Example: Piano Visualisation
One set of volunteers was asked to play a sequence of piano notes every day for five days. Their brains were scanned each day in the region connected to the finger muscles.
Another set of volunteers was asked to visualise playing the notes instead, also having their brains scanned each day.
The brain scans showed that the changes in the brain in those who visualised playing piano were the same as in those who actually played piano.
We become the story we tell ourselves. So let’s tell ourselves the right story.
By visualising the process necessary to get the outcome you want, you are telling your brain a new narrative about how you can get to where you want to be.
You are effectively priming your brain so it is easy to complete that process in reality.
The more vivid your visualisation, the more powerfully you will prime your brain.
The Mind Movie
The Ultimate Visualisation Technique
A mental Mind Movie is a visualisation in the form of imagined moving images – just like a movie – which you create inside your mind. The mental Mind Movie is particularly effective because you can visualise your goal, the process to achieve that goal and the emotions that would accompany it.
The mental Mind Movie needs three things: emotion, process and outcome.
Emotion: it needs to include your emotions
Process: it needs to show the process necessary to get the outcome you want
Outcome: it needs to show what is the overall goal