“When you visualize, then you materialize. If you’ve been there in the mind you’ll go there in the body.” – Dr. Denis Waitley 

Happy and Healthy New Year! I hope you’re off to a great 2015!

It’s a new year and I am embarking on one of the biggest changes in my life. I’m giving birth in 6 weeks. This is my first child and I have never experienced something like this, so naturally I am afraid. In fact ,for most of us, the first time we do anything, we feel fear.

To be completely honest, I know NOTHING about giving birth. What I’ve heard is that it’s painful. Eek.

So, last week, I started hypnobirthing classes to help me prepare for this big life event. In class, we use visualization and other relaxation techniques to prepare our mind and body for birth. The goal is to have a calm and smooth labor.   

The classes remind me of my competitive tennis days, when I was going through a slump and consistently losing matches. I was having a difficult time with the mental game.

At that time, I saw a sports psychologist. She guided me through visualization of seeing myself on the court as a champion. I would see myself performing my absolute best, playing aggressively, coming to the net, and feeling confident in my game. Along with that, she gave me homework that encompassed my whole life — eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. I started acting like a winner.

I will never forget the results! I won the Maryland State Championship easily. I had prepared my mind so well, it was as though I had already won and all I needed to do was show up for each match.

Research has proven this. In a recent article in Psychology Today, researcher Angie LeVan wrote that when we visualize, we’re training our brain for how we’ll actually perform that task in real life. 

So — back to giving birth.

My homework from hypnobirthing classes includes reciting daily affirmations, exercise (walking & stretching), and breathing techniques to help me get into a focused and relaxed state. Every night, I listen to a visualization recording that guides me to create an experience of a calm birth. I also picture the moment after the baby has arrived, being there with my husband and newborn, bonding.

The class encourages using different language to describe labor. For example, instead of saying having a “contraction” (when the body hears “contract,” it tenses and I want to open and expand). Softer language is used – such as, “waves” or “surges.”

Mental preparation is a key element to success. I often use visualization techniques to coach clients to achieve their desired outcome.

What’s one of your goals for 2015?

Maybe you want to get a raise, start a business, or improve your relationships.

Visualize yourself having achieved this goal and mentally rehearse what it would look like before you go to sleep at night (that’s when the subconscious mind is most effective). 

For example — See yourself sitting in the chair across from your boss, asking for a raise. Hear your boss saying, “You deserve a raise.” Feel yourself walking out of that office, knowing you got what you wanted!

If you can experience it in your mind, you can materialize it!

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you want to create in 2015, and how you are visualizing yourself achieving it.