Congratulations, David, you have mastered VMR, Visual Motor Rehearsal. It's a very powerful technique. Olympic and other professional athletes receive intensive training in it and a lot of celebrities and successful business people practice it, too, although they usually refer to it as visualization. What you call it matters not at all; what it can do for you is phenomenal.
Here's why: recent neurological research has uncovered the simple yet powerful fact that the brain does not know the difference between what it experiences and what it imagines. It responds to both scenarios as "real" and prepares the body accordingly. Subjects in MRI machines were told to look at an object, then close their eyes and imagine that same object. The same parts of the brain lit up both times. Another study, one of my favorites, looked at three groups of people. The first group lifted weights. The second group lifted weights and visualized the act of lifting on their off hours. The third group only did the visualization, they never touched a weight. The results after six months were astounding. The ones who only lifted weights had modest gains in strength and mass. The ones who did both lifting and visualization understandably had the best improvements. But it was the third group that blew the scientists away: they had measurable gains in both strength and mass with visualization alone. They never entered a gym.
Further research has proven that the brain responds to VMR much better if it is familiar with the activity it is visualizing. In other words, if you have never played golf in your life, imagining it doesn't help all that much before you start. The brain hasn't learned the maneuvers yet, hasn't laid down new neural connections in its learning process. It's those neural connections that strengthen via VMR. To be technical, it is the myelin sheath around the neural pathways that becomes strengthened when you practice something. The more you practice, the thicker the sheath becomes, the faster the messages travel from the brain to the muscles, and the better you get. Since the brain doesn't know the difference between doing something and imagining it, visualization is a very powerful tool for myelination. You can use it to dramatically improve any activity, from bodybuilding to playing the violin.
Arnold Schwarzenegger did something similar to all this. Will Smith practices it daily. Maybe you will be our Vegan Bodybuilding VMR celebrity.
The vision board is a great way to increase mental focus, as you know, as well as activating other things, which you must also already know if you're referring to it as a vision board. Agreed on excess cortisol: it has been the warning light on my stress indicator panel for decades. Like so many health sheep, I set about trying to regulate the cortisol with food and vitamins but we both know how ludicrous and ineffective that is. Then, I simply addressed and reduced the stress. Bingo. Health problems just melted away after that. A mostly raw vegan diet keeps me happy, high, and sane. Yes, micronutrients are key. "P Vitamin"?!--LOVE that! I'm plagiarizing that utterly but I'm giving you credit.