Jayney's Blog

The Power of Visualisation for Reducing Biological Age

Did you know tapping into your imagination can have a dramatic impact on your health and happiness and as such your biological age?

Today I want to take the time to share some really important information with you that is so often overlooked in the mainstream medical field as it is considered to be too ‘woo-woo’ to be taken seriously.  It is the process and practice of visualisation, or mental imagery, that we can all harness to support our ongoing health goals.

To be clear from the off, ‘visualisation’ is a process whereby we imagine a situation that we desire. Many believe that in order for this to work you must be able to ‘see’ the situation in your mind’s eye.  This isn’t the case at all! We are all different so whereas my imagination does work visually and I find it quite easy to hold an image in my imagination, other people may find that sounds, smells, the sense of touch etc. are more real or relevant to them. It is important to lean into the way in which your imagination works as it makes the practice of visualisation all the more compelling and as such far more successful for the individual involved!

So, when I speak of ‘visualisation’ please accept this as generic terminology which essentially describes the process of vividly imagining a set of desired circumstances in the way that is most relevant and meaningful to you as an individual. 

Additionally, please do not fret if you cannot ‘see’ things in your mind’s eye. It is likely one of your other senses is more dominant.  Given that we have 5 principal senses (and that’s before we even consider a huge number of secondary senses, considered to be anywhere up to an additional 21),  I suggest when practising visualisation, to try to incorporate as many of your senses into your imagery as possible. The more you can incorporate, the stronger the impact on the brain making the imagery seem even more vivid, alive, tangible and real!

To help you understand further, let me tell you about a particularly profound moment within my positive visualisation practice.

Today, I am sharing with you a part of my story to demonstrate that, even in the worst situations, we can harness the power of our minds to gain strength, recover and potentially return to a good degree of health!

Many of you know, I have the auto-immune condition Rheumatoid Arthritis and although I am in full remission now, I did get extremely ill 18 years ago.  After struggling with the condition for many years and being a full-time wheelchair user, things really came to a head, when I was told to ‘get my affairs in order’ as my doctors predicted that I only had a couple of weeks to live. I had developed a life-threatening flare-up of the condition and as far as the doctors were concerned there was no other way I was leaving this situation.  The inflammation was raging out of control and everything was inflamed and agonisingly painful; joints, brain, liver, kidneys, lungs – the lot!  Within just a few days after the onset of the flare-up, my weight plummeted to 5.5 stone as my body was using my muscle tissue for fuel.  My muscle wastage was so extreme that my brain totally “forgot” how to move my body and I was locked, immobile, into an excruciating foetal position. 

As you can imagine, the outlook at this point was still pretty grim, and the only conventional medication offered to me was chemotherapy (Methotrexate) to suppress my immune system and hopefully give me some relief from this relentless attack. 

I knew enough about my own body to understand that being so gravely ill and underweight – putting a highly toxic drug into my system was probably not the brightest idea and as such, I kindly declined. 

I did some soul searching and worked out that I needed to somehow pay more attention to the mind-body connection. Given that I had no muscle left to speak of, I realised I had to harness my mind to “communicate” more positively with my body so that I could encourage my immune system to calm down enough to stop it from being in constant attack mode against me. 

I thought about what I would love to do if I were still able to and landed on dancing. Dancing was something I could relate to on every level, having previously been a professional in my chronologically younger years. I started to play some of my favourite ballet music and simply saw myself in my mind-eye dancing. As I started this, I became determined to not just live, but to really get better. I promised myself, I would thrive! I totally believed that this would be achievable and made it my sole mission to live to see it happen! 

Gradually, I started to get better: initially, the pain and inflammation subsided; then a few muscle fibres started twitching; and, eventually, I managed to regain full use of my body! 

(Please note I supported the process through the additional methods of optimal nutrition, developing a strong gratitude practice, meditation and stress-response management until such a time I could begin to move more and more at which point I incorporated gentle exercise which I built up over time very slowly.)

Research has shown us some fascinating results around the implementation and strength of visual practice. In one of my all-time favourite studies, researchers measured physical strength improvements in three different categories. 

Group 1 continued to go about their day to day life exactly as they had done previously.

Group 2 practised physically 3 times a week over a two week period and focused intently upon one specific muscle within training. 

Group 3 regularly listened to recordings that helped them to imagine doing the same workout as those in Group 2 however they did not physically partake in the training. 

The results were staggering. As I’m sure you predicted Group 1 saw absolutely no improvement or notable change in strength. 

Group 2 saw a 28% gain in strength in the muscle in question.

However, Group 3 who only visualised exercising, experienced nearly the same gains in strength as the exercise group, at an astonishing 24%! 

So it turns out the power of the mind is incredible and isn’t just an arbitrary throwaway notion. So much so that many top sports athletes use visualisation techniques consistently to mentally rehearse for their competitions in the run-up to major events. As such this can also be applied to fit and healthy people who simply want a boost to their efforts when partaking in physical activity.

So all that is left to do is tell you HOW to incorporate visualisation techniques into your day to day routine!

When using visualisation to improve health and performance, it’s vital that you choose your own imagery that you really relate to and have the most positive associations with. Draw on times when you have felt happy or empowered and consider what the most effective visualisation for you might be. Be aware this can change depending upon your state of mind and the circumstances you find yourself in that exact moment.

Ask yourself:

What would I most like to achieve from using visualisation? 

It can be anything! More strength! More mobility! More positivity! More energy! I want to feel younger! The list goes on! 

Then set aside a daily slot to imagine yourself partaking in an activity that is most likely going to help you to achieve your goal…

Over time you should begin to see the marginal gains which in turn become more monumental.

I truly believe that you will shock yourself with the power of your own mind – making you feel healthier and more invigorated and undoubtedly impacting your overall biological age!

All my love,

Jayney x

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Celia
Celia
14 days ago

I have had a niggling pain in my arm and shoulder for months now (possibly tennis elbow) so I am going to give visualisation a go and see if I can reduce the pain a bit. I’ll try imaging myself playing golf and tennis without the pain. Wish me luck!

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