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Visualize Illness Becoming Wellness (and The Science Of Why It Works)

Visualize Illness Becoming Wellness (and The Science Of Why It Works)

I’m often asked what the ‘right’ visualization is for certain conditions. The truth is, there’s not ‘the’ right visualization, just the one that’s right for you. So long as what you’re imagining is wellness, then you’re doing it right.

And before I go further, visualization isn’t a substitute for healthy lifestyle or taking recommended medication. It’s something that we do in addition to these things, like how you don’t meditate instead of sleeping, but in addition to it.

There’s loads of ways to visualize wellness. Some people imaging cleaning diseased cells, picturing them in their mind’s eye becoming clean and healthy. Some people imagine their immune system destroying cancer cells. Some people focus on changing a disease colour into a colour that represent health for them. Some people create a symbol that represents how they feel. For example, one man suffering from depression and feeling ‘broken’, pictured his brokenness as broken mirror. He then visualized making it whole again.

In each case, a person begins with their awareness of what their condition is and then turns it into what they imagine wellness to be. Illness into wellness is the main strategy.

In time, people’s minds tend to go all the way to wellness and from then on they don’t even turn illness into wellness, but instead just ‘see’ wellness in their mind.

And they key is also repetition. Repetitively visualizing wellness or illness into wellness. Most people do it for 10 minutes or so a day, some longer and some shorter, but that’s about a ballpark.

It seems to me that visualization works because the brain doesn’t distinguish all that much between real and imaginary. When you picture something happening, much of the time the brain mobilizes its natural resources as much as it can to deliver what you imagine. This is the basis behind the placebo effect. Believing a drug (when it’s a placebo) will relieve pain actually mobilizes the brain’s natural resources to reduce pain. Here, the brain produces its own painkillers, known as endogenous opiates.

Through this process, or something similar, scientific studies have shown that visualization has helped stroke patients regain movement, elite athletes and sportspeople to enhance their performances in specific areas, novices to learn new sporting skills. It’s helped people to increase physical strength when they imagine lifting objects, it’s supported the immune systems of women receiving treatment for breast cancer, and it’s even tricked people’s brains into thinking that they have eaten real food when they just imagined it. And right out of sci-fi, it’s even helped people turn lights on and off in their homes and pilots fly planes … with their minds.

Yes, you read that correctly. When you visualize somewhere in your body, this activates the region of the brain that processes that part. For example, if you visualize moving a finger, the finger region of your brain lights up. Researchers have connected the brain to a BCI – Brain Computer Interface – which effectively reads where your mental activity goes by noting which areas get activated. They can connect the other end to lights in the home or even to the navigation controls of an airplane, so that when a person focuses on their right hand, the BCI reads it as an instruction to veer the plane to the right, or turn on the light, depending on what the BCI is hooked up to.

It works because the brain isn’t distinguishing real from imaginary. This is the basis for using visualization practices in our lives, whether to assist our healing or even to shape our lives.

It’s been said that if you imagine something and then believe it, you can achieve it. This is why I’ve included the science of how it works. 

It helps you to believe in yourself. Happy visualizing.

David R. Hamilton PhD
After completing his PhD, David worked for 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. During this time he also served as an athletics coach and manager of one of the UK’s largest athletics clubs, leading them to three successive UK finals. Upon leaving the pharmaceutical industry, David co-founded the international relief charity Spirit Aid Foundation and served as a director for 2 years.

Now a bestselling author of 6 books published by Hay House, he offers talks and workshops that fuse science, the mind, and spiritual wisdom. David writes a regular blog for the Huffington Post.

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