Kate’s Corner: Structural Tension

Today, I continue to explain concepts in Jack Canfield’s “The Success Principles.”

The concept of affirmations combined with visualization and its relation to the realization of goals can be connected to a concept in brain science known as “structural tension.” Here’s how they interrelate:

1. Affirmations and Visualization: Affirmations are positive statements that are repeated to oneself with the aim of changing negative or unhelpful thoughts. When combined with visualization, where one mentally pictures the successful achievement of their goals, these techniques can become more powerful. The idea is that by regularly affirming and visualizing a desired outcome, a person can foster a positive mindset and focus more clearly on their goals.

2. Structural Tension: This term, often used in the context of goal-setting and personal development, refers to the tension that exists between one’s current reality and their desired goal or vision. The brain recognizes this gap and can become motivated to close it.

3. **Brain Science Perspective**: From a neuroscience standpoint, when you visualize an outcome, the brain works as if the experience is real. Neural pathways associated with the desired goals are strengthened each time the visualization occurs. This process is known as ‘neuroplasticity,’ where the brain’s neural networks adjust and change through growth and reorganization.

4. Goal Achievement and Brain Activation: By repeatedly affirming and visualizing a goal, you’re essentially training your brain to recognize and act upon opportunities that may lead to the achievement of that goal. This is partly because the brain doesn’t distinguish well between real and imagined experiences. As a result, the mental rehearsal provided by visualization can enhance motivation, increase confidence, improve motor performance, and prepare the brain for actual performance.

5. Structural Tension in Action: When you clearly define your goal (visualization) and your current state, your brain recognizes this structural tension. This awareness can subconsciously steer your actions and decisions towards bridging this gap. The affirmations help maintain a positive and focused mindset towards this end.

In summary, the combination of affirmations with visualization leverages the concept of structural tension by creating a clear mental image of a desired goal and recognizing the gap between the current state and that goal. This process can facilitate changes in the brain that support goal achievement, illustrating the powerful interplay between mindset, brain function, and personal development.

This is an example of how mindset works. Success does not happen if I am in a constant downward spiral of self-doubt. In fact, affirmations accentuating the love you have for yourself, “I Am Enough,” coupled with the day dream of what and where you want to go, will achieve what appears to be miraculous, but is how the brain works, and how you can make it work for you.


Meet Kate And Dean Holland


5 thoughts on “Kate’s Corner: Structural Tension”

  1. I’m actually trying to use structural tension and visualization to learn a couple of dance steps on YouTube. When you have chronic fatigue syndrome, you can’t go hanging out at dance clubs, but you can learn a step or two. And some say you have find some kind of way to get exercise, even with the fear of getting sick. So I do stretching, mostly. But I want to try imagining this one short combo, and then imagining the week afterward without getting sick. It’s less than five minutes, so hopefully, it will work. I also practice while sitting and lying down, LOL.

  2. All very good and true but I don’t know if I have or could set a habit of using visualization and affirmations. I can remember just one incident when I was super anxious that I used tapping and saying affirmations. I did work. So I guess it’s the need that pushes me. Otherwise, I return to a couch potato.

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