Visualization is an ancient mental technique that has been known and used within eastern meditative practices for centuries. It consists in imagining something. This means to reproduce mental images that have already been seen in reality, or to invent them (totally or partially) and merge them with real images or thoughts. Today visualization is employed also in the West to promote relaxation and personal change, to increase sports and mental performances, and as a technique of self-help. In fact, its areas of application span from sport, to business and the clinical field.
Creating images is a natural and universal phenomenon. We all visualize spontaneously every day. They may be memories, fantasies, daydreams, visions of scenarios that will never happen, or proper “movies” about our expectations. Visualization leverages this natural phenomenon to take advantage of it. It is based on an easily observable fact: our thoughts and our mental images influence our body, or to put it differently, the body reacts to the images (pleasant or unpleasant) whether they are real or invented.
This phenomenon has been used for centuries in Buddhist meditation. According to this philosophy, we should avoid negative thoughts and feelings (therefore negative images), because they are poisonous to the point that they can make us fall ill. Once we have become aware of it, we can use it to our advantage to create positive feelings that help us better manage stress, anxiety and concerns, and also to increase creativity.