Visualisation can be an effective way to help us relax, to enhance our performance, to aid pain management, and to help us to overcome addictions and unhealthy habits. Visualisation can also be a great way to boost our confidence.
To use visualisation techniques effectively we need to follow some simple rules:
- Start by creating space and allowing enough time. As with many other techniques that help you to relax, plan around potential interruptions to your visualisation. Avoid the busiest time of day and check that there are no other stimuli that might interfere with your practice. It is especially important to create the optimum environment at the beginning while you are still mastering visualisation skills.
- Focus on your breathing to gain the most from your visualisation. Start by gently bringing your attention to your body and checking how your body feels in the moment. You might like to conduct a body scan. Start by paying attention to your breathing. Gradually bring your breathing from your upper body into your belly. You might even like to put your hand on your belly to monitor the movement of your belly, expanding when you breathe in and deflating as you breathe out.
- Visualise in the first person. Make sure that your experience is in the first person, rather than observing yourself from afar (such as ‘seeing yourself floating’).
- Be realistic and slightly optimistic. It might be helpful for you to start with goals that are more immediate rather than far removed. For example, start focusing right now on delivering a successful presentation, and later on visualise yourself becoming a CEO of a company. One of the reasons for this is so you can experience the most achievable instance of success in the near future.
- Engage all your senses. It is important to engage all your senses when you visualise confidence. It will involve what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. What does confidence sound like: is it “Can’t stop me now” by Queen; or maybe it sounds like your boss praising you for a job well done? What does it look like? Do you see people listening attentively to your presentation and giving you positive feedback and perhaps asking for your advice? What does confidence feel like when you touch it? Maybe it is a supple softness or the luxurious feel of a designer fabric against your skin or a fine leather briefcase? What about the smell? Maybe it’s the smell of your favourite cologne or the taste of black caviar or the sip of cognac after closing a deal.
Take a few moments and make yourself comfortable in your chair. Bring your attention to your breath. In and out. In and out. Take your time; there is no rush. Allow yourself to focus on your breathing. Gently close your eyes and allow yourself to experience confidence.
- What does confidence look like to you? What is your image of success and strong self-esteem?
- What does confidence sound like to you? What sounds make you stand tall and powerful?
- What is the smell of success and confidence?
- What is the flavour of confidence? What does it taste like?
- What does confidence feel like to you? If you were to touch it, what would you experience?
You can further experiment with your visualisation, and focus on the sensations that relate to achievement, progress, victory and success. You can help yourself by boosting your confidence before challenging meetings or during the times when you don’t feel one hundred percent. If you feel better about yourself you are more likely to motivate yourself to work harder.