Seeing is Believing
What is visualization? Author Belleruth Naparstek best describes visualization as, ” A direct, deliberate daydream, a purposeful creation of positive sensory images-sights, sound, smells, tastes and feel – in your imagination”(198). The object of visualization according to Sherry Amatenstein is, “To imagine as clearly as possible that what you want has already occurred” (156). Visualization allows individuals to mentally rehearse, plan, and practice a desired outcome for different situations. Naparstek states what makes visualization techniques work is, “Our bodies don’t discriminated between sensory images in the mind and what we call reality” (18). Visualization techniques have been used to heal the body, improve health, and prepare for life events.
Visualization techniques have been used to heal the body. Terry Tillman was a physically active entreprenuer that turned to visualization to restore a slipped disk that had left him immobilized from the waist down. After several weeks, Terry had amazed his doctors, who had confirmed the damaged vertebrae with x-rays, when he walked again. A few months later, Terry was running and eventually resumed the active lifestyle he previously had (Heide Banks 50-52). Therapist had taught cancer patient Garrett Porter, a nine-year old with a brain tumor, visualization techniques. Garrett had decided he would imagine rocket ships attacking the tumor. Several months later, all Garrett saw was normal brain in his imagery and a CAT scan had showed the tumor to be entirely gone (Bernie Siegel 154-155).
Visualization has been used to improve health. Many people have employed imagery to rid themselves of stress and the ailments associated with it: such as, headaches, muscle tension, and stomach problems (Heidi Banks 55). Constant aches and pains are debilitating to the immune system and makes individuals more susceptible to colds, infections, and diseases. Individuals who had regularly visually purged or imagined the release of their stress experienced healthier lives with fewer illnesses than that of those who held on to the stress (Belleruth Naparstek 24).
Visualization has been used to prepare for life events. Author Sherry Amatenstein had described herself as a wall flower when she went to parties, until she used visualization to rehearse for such occasions. After employing mental imagery she noticed that she was exuding confidence and actively socializing with others when she attended festive get-togethers (156-158). Utilization of visualization techniques has been a proven tool of many top-notch athletes(Wendy DuBow 77). Many world-class athletes have used visualization techniques to prepare for competition. By imagining their individual performance, prior to competition, they can plan and practice the desired result (Heidi Banks 53). Mentally seeing an event with all the variables and performance pressures allowed the athlete to mental create and rehearse any alternative plan that may be needed. When an obstacle arose the athlete could instantly recall and perform the programmed response (Wendy DuBow 77).
Visualization has been used in many ways. Better health, preparation for life events and healing the body is a way visualization techniques have been employed.Author Heidi Banks quoted the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius whom had sagely said, “Life is what our thoughts make it” (54). So, what you see in your mind is what you get.
Amatenstein, Sherry. “What You See Is What You Get.” Mademoiselle Oct.1995: 156-159.
Banks, Heidi. It Works for Me! Boston: Journey Editions, 1996.
DuBow, Wendy. “Do Try This at Home.” Women’s Sports and Fitness 19.4 (1997): 77-78.
Naparstek, Belleruth. Staying Well With Guided Imagery. New York: Warner Books, 1994.
Siegel, Bernie. Love, Medicine and Miracles. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1986.