The neuroscience of visualization: visualize to realize your goals

neurology of visualization

It’s always nice to know how certain things work in life. Indeed, if it yields you something, it is worthwhile to inform yourself. This is also the case with visualization because why is it that you have to visualize to achieve your goals? In this article, I’ll explain the neurology of visualization and why it’s so important to visualize your goals.

Why visualization?

All over the internet and in books you read, you must apply visualization if you want to pursue certain goals. Whether it’s health goals, massive wealth, or study, visualizing helps. At least, that’s what they all say. By visualizing your goals, you make them specific. Anyone who knows the power of visualization knows that you can “play” with all kinds of submodalities to intensify and empower your visualization experience.

The power of visualization

I have also gained the experience of how beautiful visualization can work. When I recently saw a beautiful new Chevrolet Corvette drive by, I imagined what it would be like to drive one myself. I saw myself sitting in that car and imagined what the new interior would smell like. I also heard the powerful V8 engine growling when I revved the engine.

It all felt excellent, not only the sturdy bucket seats but also just the “fact” that I was in that car. It belonged to me. And it felt good to take my new car for a tour to my friends to show my new ride.

Chances are, you now understand how powerful visualization can work. You can empathize with yourself in such a way that you already experience the future experience with the accompanying feeling, while that situation is, in fact, still in the future. The neurology of visualization and empathy explains that.

The Neurology of Visualization

Our body does not distinguish between an imagined emotion or reality. In fact, we fool ourselves all the time, for better or for worse. This happens both consciously and unconsciously. Examples are: “I can’t, because it didn’t work last time”, or “He probably won’t like me, because he never says hi.”

The above examples show that we tend to make assumptions. The past experience is not the same as the current situation, and the person may not greet the other for being shy. That way, we can also fool ourselves into something positive.

“I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.” is Pippi Longstocking’s statement that has made many people think. She thought in terms of possibilities. And that underlies the neurology of visualization.

It all starts with the idea that you are going to visualize. With this visualization, you fully immerse yourself and see, smell, feel, taste, and hear everything as if you are already in your future situation.

You will go through this process over and over again. Did you know that mental rehearsal is the way to create new neural networks in your brain? By going through your future situation repeatedly – so how it feels, looks, how it sounds, etc. – you create a neurological network in your brain. And remember, “neurons that fire together, wire together,” so the more you do this, the stronger the connections.

Reticular Activation System (RAS)

By conditioning your brain, you teach it to get used to your future situation. You create a network of neurons, the Reticular Activation System (RAS). This network and the imagined future situation become inextricably linked. The more powerful the feeling is in your visualization, and the more often you repeat this, the more powerful and durable the neurological connections in your brain become.

By applying visualization daily, or rather a several times a day, the brain will be able to take the steps necessary to achieve your result in both a conscious and unconscious state.

This strategy has proven itself extensively over the years. It’s for the reason that top athletes are already busy visualizing the competition months in advance, run through the process step by step, and using this to build the network in their brains to be able to perform optimally at the supreme moment.

Perceptual filters and the neurology of visualization

Just think about it. We are being bombarded with millions of pieces of information every second, and if we paid attention to all of them, we would have a major sensory overload. Although our subconscious mind can process about 11 million bits of information per second, we can only process between 40 and 120 bits of information per second in a conscious state.

In other words, our brains filter out all irrelevant information, so we filter out the irrelevant information and are able to process the relevant stuff. These perceptual filters prove us a great track record. Within these boundaries, we can administer the information (our visualized goals) to our mind that is important to us.

Tips neurology of visualization

With our visualization, we create the network we need to achieve our goals. To make the neurology of visualization work optimally for you, I have a few tips:

1 – Be specific

Everything is possible in your visualization. It is important to be very specific when you are visualizing. If you want a holiday home, think about every detail: the view of the surroundings, the scent of the lavender fields, the cushions on your sofa, the chirping of the birds, visualize, hear, smell, and taste every detail. Include all of your senses. And as mentioned, use submodalities to intensify your experience. Make the colors more intense. You turn up the sound a bit and make the scents a bit more cheerful. You are at the mixing console of your perception.

2 – Add emotion

Nothing is more important to your visualization than adding a feeling. Imagine yourself as if you have already achieved your goal. Experience the satisfaction, the gratitude, and already feel how you can enjoy your achievements sufficiently.

It can be helpful to make a smile “on the inside of your mouth”. Feel the warmth of gratitude in your heart area, and if that helps, you can put both hands on your chest area to feel that power.

By adding emotion to our visualization, we use our brain’s limbic system, making our visualization even more powerful. You can also add music with headphones for a more intense experience of emotions. Choose the music that symbolizes the success of your dream for you.

3 – Condition

In order to keep the focus on your goals, it’s important to condition yourself. Of course, it’s more powerful to perform your visualizations in a disciplined way. Certainly, if you want to realize your dream, that should not be a problem.

Choose 5 to 10 minutes for yourself a few times a day to visualize your dreams. It helps to do this for yourself in a quiet place. And remember, the power of repetition is essential for building new neurological connections.


As you can see, visualization is a very powerful technique that can greatly enhance the pursuit of your dreams. Not only do the most successful people on earth have a good visualization capacity, but they also know how to put the visualizations into practice step by step.

By using the knowledge that other successful people have already gained for you, you can apply it yourself in a simple and fast way.

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