The Importance of Visualization
Written by Invictus Consigliere and Healer Heidi Barker

Visualization, Mindfulness, Meditation . . . I am a Crossfitter, how do these words pertain to me?

Do you do Crossfit to be better? Better at what? Life? Then you cannot afford to neglect your mind. You train your body to peak performance, you tune your meals to paleo perfection . . . and your head, that inner critic, the habit generator – what consideration do you give it?

The mind is like a wild horse – fed by programming picked up from childhood to present – media and beliefs, just to name a few, handed down from generations. It will continue to run wild and gather speed in whatever direction you lead it or however you choose to feed it.

Think back to patterns you were taught as a child, nursery rhymes that you may not have recited in decades, but if you want to recall them you can instantly. Try the pledge of allegiance if you find yourself stuck. So what does that say about negative beliefs you may have had about yourself or limiting beliefs? Thoughts like: I don’t have natural talent; I’m just not the popular kid; Money is hard to come by; and, if I shine too bright people will think I am boastful. What if I fail? What if I succeed? The limiting beliefs and fears are all food for the mind, and there are thousands of snacking opportunities around us everyday – many of them you are participating in without even knowing it. Marketing gurus spend millions annually to know how to subconsciously program your beliefs and thoughts. It’s like environmental pollution for your mind, and if you don’t make an effort to eradicate it, it can affect you in just as powerful a way of not caring about the food you put in your body or the quality of the air you breath.

So how do you tame the wild horse? How do you regain the reigns? How do you reclaim your power, your potential, and ensure you are truly the one holding the reigns – not old beliefs or societal paradigms created to control your choices. Visualization, mindfulness, meditation. You feed into the reality you want to achieve – you see it, you become an active participant in the food you feed your mind. The same way you participate in how you train your body and fuel it.

Visualization, Mindfulness and Meditation – How will it help me in my life?

  • Boost your immune system by reducing cortisol
  • Engage the parasympathetic nervous system to induce extreme relaxation.
  • Boost confidence and release stress

How will it improve my athletic performance?

  • Establish a program for a perfect performance
  • Overcome limiting beliefs and blocks to peak performance
  • Prevent mistakes
  • Improve rhythm and focus and help you learn skills more quickly – like muscle ups 😉
  • Overcome nerves
  • Allows you to heal faster by reducing cortisol

How can I incorporate visualization, mindfulness and meditation into my life?

The three words have a lot of overlap. I use visualization to refer to a particular method of programming new beliefs, creating peak performance and inducing relaxation. It’s usually 7-10 minutes of focus work to program the subconscious in a positive and directed way to achieve a desired outcome or result.

Mindfulness is simply awareness. To become mindful of what you are thinking on a daily basis – I usually equate it to being present to life and breathing. It’s a practice and can be incorporated into your daily life by bringing simple awareness to how you interact with people and activities. Where is your head? Are you here or in yesterday or tomorrow? What’s your breath like, is it shallow and constrained or long and full? Stop a few times a day and train the horse to stop, be present and to take even balanced breaths. Soon that’s what the mind will do more of, naturally.

Meditation is a focused period of time set aside daily to provide time to observe your thoughts, emotions and physicality. Where are you? Where do you want to be and can you handle just being? Sit there for 5 minutes and just breath. See what comes up and focus on being unattached and non-judgmental.

Some other ways to deprogram negative beliefs or tame an unruly mind:

  • Create a gratitude list write 5 things a day for which you are grateful
  • The last 5 minutes of each day assume the feeling of your dreams, feel them as if they are true – you are successful, healthy, vibrant, feel it in every cell of your being as if its positively your reality and let your subconscious marinate in it for 8 hours.
  • Forgive yourself and others daily . . . lack of doing so creates mental baggage. Anything you hold against another is something you ultimately hold.
  • Breath! Play! Be Grateful!  Enjoy a balanced and healthy mind that works for you. Tame the horse, lead it!!!
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Steven Ulrey
Steven Ulrey
December 30, 2014 6:07 pm

100% agree – I also wrote a similar piece:

April 9, 2012 1:21 pm

I agree – visualization is VERY important. We need to watch what we say and not buy into the negative, but instead see the possibilities. Visualization often gets a bad rap, but I’m starting to see it very differently now days. Even wrote a whole blog on it!
Thanks for the tips and extra reinforcement!

Jason Ng
Jason Ng
April 2, 2012 10:16 pm

Great article…I like the gratitude list and the concentration of long breaths throughout the day..thank you!

stephanie mccormack
stephanie mccormack
April 2, 2012 8:35 pm

Thank you so much for this reminder, Heidi. Your visualizations were so helpful during the Open, and I find myself turning to them daily as a way to take some precious, quiet “me time” during the day.

April 2, 2012 9:13 pm

Happy to help such an awesome community in any way. Cheers!

Mary DeHart
Mary DeHart
April 2, 2012 7:19 am

Wow. This is a great post Heidi. I will try and incorporate some of these suggestions right away. Some real food for thought. Thanks so much for this.