Visualisation and the science that can change your life

By Richard Wood


In my last blog I wrote about Visualisation and how creating a vision of your ideal future helps to bring it closer to reality.

Indeed, closing your eyes for a few minutes each day and visualising what you want to achieve can literally prove life changing, and in this newsletter I’ll explain why.

Helping us to stop existing on autopilot, the process is particularly powerful because it tricks the brain into thinking that the vision is real, triggering physical changes that alter the way we think and behave.

Firstly, Visualisation rewires our brain’s filter; the network of neurons that form the Reticular Activating System (RAS).

Whilst the RAS enjoys the familiarity of living on autopilot, it also thrives on positive thinking and responds to the repetition, imagery and emotion that Visualisation provides.

The more you feed it, the quicker it will react, resetting itself from existence mode and instead being driven by your future vision.

Visualisation has further power to physically change the brain, as shown by a pioneering experiment conducted by Harvard Medical School.

Neurologist Alvaro Pascual-Leone instructed a group of volunteers to practise a five-finger piano exercise for two hours a day over five days.

After a week, daily tests showed that the area of motor cortex devoted to the finger movements had expanded like dandelions spreading on a lawn.

However, Pascual-Leone didn’t stop there. He extended the experiment to another group, asking them merely to think about the piano practice exercise.

The test data showed that the motor cortex had expanded in the same way, proving that mental practice had the same effect as physical practice.

The Harvard experiment showed how the brain responds physically; both to learning something new and to mental training.

Visualisation combines both these elements, enabling you to become driven by a positive future – which sustains a virtuous cycle of new thoughts, choices and behaviours - rather than an unfulfilled past.

Richard Wood is BRWM's Managing Director