Motivation and emotion/Book/2013/Visualisation and motivation

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Visualisation and Emotion: How does and can visualiation affect motivation?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Success is something that we all want. If we could not succeed at anything we would fail to feed our selves, breath, support our selves, and never attain happiness. The term success is being used broadly in that sense, as often it is attributed to higher forms of achievement such as wealth, health, personal goals. There has often been questions of how extremely successful people got to where they did. But It comes down to something very simple. Visualisation.

There are different forms of visualisation to name a few of them, creative visualisation, altered-memory visualisation, treasure mapping. The main focus of this book chapter is on creative visualisation.

Focus questions

What is creative visualiasation?

What are some techniques for using creative visualisation?

Is creative visualisation truly affective?

What is creative visualisation?[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. Arnold Schwarzenegger uses visualisation

Creative visualisation is essentially a technique employing the use of an individual's own imagination to visualise behaviours, feelings and events in life to promote proactive behaviour towards success (Finke, 1990) and underlies positive thinking (Randolph, 1984).

It has been often reported that positive thinking has given many people who stand out, their reasons for success. This positive thinking can be found in a form of visualisation. For example athletes who have been very successful often visualise themselves winning, performing or appearing in some manner. One prime example is the famous body builder, actor and politician 'Arnold Schwarzenegger' (IMDb, 2008). He admitted to visualising him self being and having what he wanted, and went on to win 'Mr Olympia' an international body building competition, seven times in a row. He then visualised him self as an actor and became just that (IMDb, 2008).

Techniques for using creative visualisation[edit | edit source]

To properly employ creative visualisation, one creates a schema (an organised pattern of thought or behaviour) (The Referential Process, n.d) of what one desires, or aims to achieve then through repetitious visualisation employing all the senses of the human body (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight) and even feelings. In the example of an athlete, they may envision scenarios such as stepping past the finish line, the feeling of success or the roar of the crowd. These scenario employed visual (images and pictures), kinaesthetic (how the body feels) and auditory senses (sounds).

Athletes use this technique to relax and calm themselves into a feeling of 'well being' (a state of being in which one is comfortable, happy and healthy.)

The method it self typically follows the following format:


Take a few deep breaths, release and tension in the body, close your eyes, make sure you are in a quiet environment or just an environment that does not disturb you.

Begin to imagine the environment

Imagine the place you are working in, the things you are doing and what you are doing them with.

Third person view

Imagine it from a third person view, focus in on your self and what you are doing, try to add more detail to it.

First person view

Move on to viewing it in first person (like you are doing it your self). The feelings both kinaesthetic, auditory and visual, imagine these things as you are doing things in the environment.

Wrapping it up

Slowly come back to reality, allowing the image to fade, you will have completed your mental rehearsal and can open your eyes when you are ready too.This is one example of how mental rehearsal is carried out, it takes time and practice but it has been shown to work (Reyes, 2012).

Is creative visualisation truly affective?[edit | edit source]

In a study done by (SOURCE?) three groups of Olympic athletes were tested by comparing their mental training (the visualisation ) and physical training (exercise). The first group of athletes were purely trained physically, the second group trained 75% physically and 25% mentally, and the third group was trained equally at 50% physical and 50% mental.The results speak for them selves as the third group out performed groups one and two. William Cummings, one of the few psychologists who conducted the study noted "mental images appear to be precursor to muscular impulses" (Cummins & Scaglione, 1993).

It shows that with a more balanced work load and supplemented mental training gives better results for success.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Visualisation can be seen as a key component to success, as shown above. If we look into it on a more lateral basis we can see that visualisation is actually quiet normal in positive thinking and every day living, we want something we picture it, we feel a greater desire for it and thus we go out and get it. It is however not to be mixed up with the logic "I think, therefore I am" as it is a tool to be used to promote more positive thought process's to allow the individual to perform without hindrance of negative thoughts. There are studies that show this method to be very helpful in the process of attaining your goal (three groups of Olympic athletes) just like the study showed however, mental in combination with physical training was needed. One can't simply imagine the idea and have it happen, one must act as well.

See also[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

Cummins, C., & Scaglione, W. (1993). Karate of Okinawa: Building Warrior Spirit. Tuttle Publishing.

Finke, R. (1990). Creative Imagery: Discoveries and inventions in Visualization (1st ed.). Psychology Press.

IMDb. (2008, March 8). Biography for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Randolph, K. (1984). The Truth about Creative Visualization (1st ed.). Llewllyn Publications.

Reyes, A. (2012, April 4). Does Visualization Really Work? Here's Evidence That It Does. Expert Enough.

The Referential Process. (n.d). Emotion Schemas. Retrieved November 6, 2013.

External links[edit | edit source]

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