Does Visualization Actually Work?
Science Proves Visualization Works
By Be Inspired and Mel Robbins
“If you expect to achieve your goals, if you expect to reach your potential, if you expect to have your dreams come true. What I’m about to explain to you is mission critical. You must become a master at visualization.
For those of you that are like, what the heck is she talking about? I did not sign up for some sort of meditation. Wooooo spiritual thing. Don’t worry. This is Mel Robbins. There’s always science and research involved in everything that I talk about.
So visualization is an extraordinarily powerful skill. You may have heard of the law of attraction. You may have heard of the word visualization. You may have heard of the word manifesting. I call it seeing signs. Your brain has a system in it. Here’s the technical term.
It’s called the reticular activating system. It is a network of neurons all up in here. And what is the job of the reticular activating system? It is a filter system. It’s basically a system that allows certain information in your brain and it blocks out other information. And guess who programmed that filter? You did and so did the people from your past.
So if you constantly feel like you’re unlovable, guess what? Your reticular activating system is going through the day and it is going to point out every single piece of evidence that confirms that negative belief that you have. If you think that people don’t like you at work, the reticular activating system, the filter, it is literally going to be looking for evidence to confirm that belief all day long.
This is one of the reasons why we have such a problem with politics in this country. This is why there’s something called a confirmation bias. Confirmation bias means your mind loves to read things that you agree with because reading things that you agree with confirms your filter. Why do we have a particular activating system? There’s a really important reason why you have this. The reason why is if your brain let in everything.
Have you ever looked at a Facebook page? Have you noticed how many words are on a standard Facebook page? And the ad over here and the ad over there and the ad over there.
If your brain took in everything at equal value, your head would literally explode off your shoulders. Your brain would melt down. And so the reticular activating system protects your brain by filtering information and only letting in stuff that it agrees with. So that’s the scientific reason and mandate for why you gotta get busy re-programing that thing.”
Using visualization to reprogram your reticular activating system
“Now we’re gonna talk about how you use visualization in order to start to reprogram the reticular activating system in your brain so that your brain starts to spot opportunity. Your brain starts to spot evidence that things are working out. Your brain starts to spot coincidences so you can build momentum and it begins with visualization. So as you take your goals. Right, so you’ve written down all these goals, right? I want you to go to each one and I want you to do a visualization exercise and here’s how you’re gonna do it based on science. Because there’s a particular way you have to do this based on science. OK, it’s a two step method.
If your goal is to improve your self worth, I want you to visualize what your life looks like and how you’re going to feel about yourself. When your self worth has improved, there’s two things that you have to do when it comes to visualization. You have to close your eyes. Truly, I know it sounds stupid, but I want you to close your eyes and I want you to, in your mind, have a specific picture of what it looks like in your life when your self-worth has improved.
You’re going to see yourself speaking up at work. You’re going to see yourself talking more about your business. You’re gonna see yourself leaving bad relationships. You’re going to see yourself defining boundaries. You’re going to see yourself going to the gym. You’re going to see yourself taking care of yourself. And when you start to visualize the image of. That I want you to consciously this is step to consciously think of the positive emotions that you’re going to feel. I’m gonna feel happy. I’m I feel proud. I’m going to stand taller. I’m going to be so grateful that I made this change. Marrying the specific picture.
There I am. There I am. I’m I’m in. I’m at work. And I’m raising my hand. Amazing. I’m sharing my dad. There I am. I’m getting a promotion. There I am asking for a raise. There I am. I’ve just signed up another customer to my business. There I am. I’ve gone back to school. I feel so good about myself. When you do that, here’s what’s actually happening in your brain. This is the cool science part.
You are training your brain to have a totally different filter. You see your brain. My brain, it doesn’t know the difference between something that actually happened to you like the F you got in your test in 10th grade and the things you imagine that are happening to you. Let me say that again. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between the bad things that actually happened to you.
The real memories that you have and an imagined memory that you’re creating your brain will experience you visualizing, going to the gym, you visualizing how happy you feel when you do, you visualizing, asking for that raise and getting it and how proud you’re going to feel your brain when you visualize in the way that I’m teaching you to. It encodes it as a real memory. And that’s important, because when you encode it as a real memory, it changes the filter system, that reticular activating system. And here’s what we know. Based on research, the more you visualize things, number one, the greater your confidence is going to be.
The greater security you’re gonna have about it. And here’s the really cool thing. The more you do this with your goals, you wake up every day and you just visualize for it takes 30 freaking seconds for crying out loud. You visualize having a great day at school. You visualize curing your panic and how proud you’re going to be. What studies suggest and have proven is that simply visualizing yourself doing things actually develops the skill and helps you improve the skills. Just as if you were actually doing it. And so there’s proof based on research that visualization helps you build skills.
And then finally, the other thing that’s really important about this is that the more that you do this, what we know based on research is that the reason why you start to believe what you think is because you are reprogramming your brain. You are changing the network of neurons that act as a filter. And so the more that you actually believe in yourself and you start thinking and visualizing yourself speaking up, the more confident you’re going to become, the more skills that you’re building and you’re actually going to do it.
And then instead of looking for all the reasons when you’re sitting in a meeting to not speak up. You’re going to just speak up because you’re going to have changed the filter. You’re going to look for opportunities. This is how it works. This is why this is so incredibly important. And so day one, I want you to go through all the goals that you set. And I want you every single day throughout the next 30 days. You are going to spend 30 seconds. Your dreams deserve 30 seconds. Start. You think you’re going to close your eyes and you’re going to visualize what it looks like in your life when you have achieved your monetary goals this year? How does it feel to go to the bank and see that balance?
How does it feel to be able to write that check and take your kids to Disney World on money that you made? How does it feel to be able to rent your own place or put down a down payment for the house you’ve always dreamt of? How does it feel to be able to have saved enough money as you can quit the job that you hate and launched the business because you have achieved your goals? It feels darn good. That’s how it feels.
And I want you to just savor that, because what you’re doing when you visualize is you’re reprogramming your reticular activating system, that system of neurons, that network that acts like a filter in your brain so that it’s spotting opportunity so that it is helping you see evidence that you are confident that you are capable, that you can do this instead of all the garbage you think right now.”