Ever since she was a little girl, tennis star Bianca Andreescu has been meditating and using visualisation techniques.
She may have won the Women’s U.S title on Saturday, but the day began just as all Andreescu’s days begin: with a morning meditation session.
In particular, Anndreescu used visualisation to help her prepare for her opponent, megastar Serena Williams, whom she beat in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.
Speaking to the press Saturday night, Andreescu said, “I put myself in situations (that) I think can happen in a match, … I just find ways to deal with [possible events] so I’m prepared for anything that comes my way.”
There are obvious lessons we can all take away from this. Visualisation meditation techniques can be used to prepare the mind for what may lie ahead. While Bianca Andreescu meditated to prepare to defeat Serena Williams, you could just as easily use visualization meditations to prepare for school tests, or important work events… or anything at all.
Many athletes use meditation and visualizations before big events. And research shows these meditation session can have a big influence on their success.
So how do these visualizations work?
Science suggests that the way we perceive reality is very similar to the way we perceive imaginary events. Indeed, sometimes the mind even struggles to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined . So if you imagine yourself doing something, your mind truly believes you are doing it. In other words, imaginary events influence the way you perceive reality, and the way you react to that reality. So, by imagining yourself doing something the best way possible, you prepare yourself to actually do that.
This is something Andreescu agrees with. “I think your biggest weapon is to be as prepared as you can. I really think that working your mind (is important)…The thing that separates the best from the rest is just the mindset.” This is true for all avenues of life. Indeed, science has even shown that when it comes to losing weight mindset is everything.
This positive mindset is something Andreescu had to learn. When she was younger she was full of negative thoughts and self doubt, saying she would “get really down on myself… I would get very negative thoughts going through my mind.”
Negative thoughts work in the exact same way as visualization does. When we visualize ourselves in negative ways, we actually train the mind to think and act negatively. Negative visualizations can effect us every bit as much as positive ones too, sometimes even more.
By using visualization meditations, Bianca Andreescu prepared her mind to win the U.S Open. And there’s no reason the rest of us cannot do precisely the same thing to win our own successes.