Have you ever seen a world class athlete before their event?
If you have, you might have seen them with their eyes closed and head moving. What they’re doing is not some weird superstitious ritual before competing.
They are performing their competition in their head.
Every movement their body will make imagined along with any feeling they have to go along with the action. Included will be any sounds they will hear, smells in the venue, and the feel of their clothing on their skin.
This valuable exercise is as valuable to them as the time they spend practicing. They will do this several times during the day. It is a way of practicing without being out on the slopes. It can be done anywhere at any time. They can practice while waiting for something, taking a plane to a race, or just sitting at home.
What they are doing is called guided imagery. If you imagine you are doing something and you include all five senses, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, your subconscious can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. Guided imagery misleads your autonomic system into believing that what you are doing is real. As a result of this trickery, you get the expected benefit.
If you could read this with your eyes closed, I would tell you to close your eyes and think of a restful place.
Imagine you are sitting in a chair on warm, silvery sand next to a beautiful, blue ocean while the smell of the salty air fills your nostrils. You can hear waves gently run to the beach and then pull back into the sea. You can feel warm tropical breezes blowing across you cooling your warm skin. The taste of coconut lingers sweetly on your tongue. You feel your tense muscles softening in the peaceful, restful atmosphere while your body melts into the lounge chair.
You didn’t go to a sunny, tropical beach, and sip pina coladas. But through guided imagery your mind thinks you did. If this had been an actual session, you would feel relaxed, warm, and tasting coconut.
Guided imagery has many uses including relaxation, stopping habits, performance enhancement and for improving health by relieving pain and rapid healing. Research shows guided imagery can decrease/manage stress, increase your confidence and self-esteem.
Job searchers use guided imagery to eliminate them of job loss trauma; forgive and forget any injustices they have experienced; and practice job search skills. The job searchers who practice guided imagery are more likely to obtain jobs more quickly than those who don’t.
A study by Dr. Lynn Joseph showed over 60% of participants in a study using guided imagery for job seekers obtained jobs within two months. Only 12% of the control group obtained jobs in the same time frame using another method.
One of the last things an athletes imagines at the end of their session is standing in the winners area receiving accolades. They have been dreaming of this moment for a long time. Job searchers imagine accepting a new job that comes with a regular paycheck. They, too, have been dreaming of this goal for a long time.
Job seekers athletes image from Shutterstock