Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Visualization for Runners- an Interview with Dr. Gisela Chrisman

Many of the world's best runners use guided imagery-- relaxation and visualization to picture in their minds what they want to accomplish before their competition.

Guided imagery is said by sports psychologists to be effective because the mind can't tell the difference between reality and visualized images.
That is, the mind cannot tell the difference between something that actually happened to you and something you vividly imagined. In fact, numerous studies have shown comparable results for visualizing an activity (such as successfully shooting foul shots) and actually practicing it.

After working with Dr. Chrisman one fall a few years ago, the Gloucester Catholic cross country team reported PR's across the board in the remaining two meets of the season.
We recently talked to Dr. Gisela Chrisman a Hypnotherapist from New Jersey about visualization and why the process works.

Dr Chrisman do you recommend visualization for runners?
"I think visualization is great, however you are only using one part of your senses and you could use 5. So, I strongly believe in imagery in which you use all your senses to accomplish a goal. In another words, start with Gloucester Catholic Cross Country team practicing visualization with Dr. Chrismanguided imagery and then auto - or self hypnosis.
Any time you are imagining things, the unconscious mind does not understand that that is not real and initiates a response from the body.
Happy images can initiate a relaxation response, instead of a flight or fight response, which is a stress response and speeds everything up. Dr. Gisela ChrismanHence, in this case, it sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system to release endorphins and a thought of decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The result is physiologically a decrease of oxygen consumption, so the runner is less short of breath and needs less oxygen, so can run longer and faster.
Words like: drift, float and glide are extremely helpful and always remember imagining a goal is very important. So a daily affirmation like: "I can do this, this is easy, I have done that before, I will succeed, I will be at my best, this day I will show my inner strength, my wisdom, the believe in myself "ect, ect, ect-----are very important."
For more information on Dr. Gisela Chrisman DCH. RN of Hypno Therapy for You:

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