Proven visualization techniques to make the most of your life

Woman concentrating by a lake at sunset - visualize, create, heal - visualization. Healing Arts Institute of South Florida.
Written by David Davenport – Contributing author Healing Arts Institute of South Florida
Image by Canva

In a previous article, we discussed how your thoughts affect how you act and how those actions create your environment. In other words, the way you think is directly responsible for building your life and your reality.

There’s one catch, however. It isn’t enough to be able to think your way into a new life. You must visualize a “new you” and feel the positive emotional consequences of your thoughts.

Thinking leads to acting. Acting leads to feeling.

Feeling reinforces thinking. Think. Act. Feel. Repeat.

But we came across a bit of a problem. What if you desperately want to change your thinking, but you still feel weighed down by negative emotions? This is what I called the think/feel paradox. You need to feel positive emotions to form a new way of thinking. However, the reality you are experiencing makes that very difficult.

You want to think differently to experience emotions that reinforce those thoughts, which lead to new actions that will change your life.

Today, we will talk about techniques that can help you to break the think/feel paradox. You can be free from the kind of thinking that is preventing you from realizing your true potential.

Visualization is the way forward.

When you produce visual creations of thoughts, events, and emotions in your mind, the same parts of your brain will activate as if you were performing the actions. Visualization is a form of mindfulness training. 

Your brain will activate in the same way while either visualizing an event or while you experience an event first-hand. You read that right.

Athletes are trained to visualize every action in detail before their performance. This exercise will train their mind to react quickly and appropriately without much thought when the time is right. In other words, they are programming themselves to think and act in a specific way. And with victory, they experience feelings of success which reinforces and rewards more of this thinking. 

Top athletes and performers will even use failure to motivate themselves to persevere until they achieve success.

Visualization can help you practice challenging scenarios in a safe and consequence-free environment to help you gain the confidence you need.

Technique: Visualize your goals

Purpose: To associate positive feelings with pursuing new goals and to gain confidence before attempting new activities.

What to do:

  1. Assume a comfortable meditative position. You can choose to sit or lie on your back.
  2. Close your eyes and begin deep-belly breathing.
  3. Visualize a goal that you want to accomplish. The goal can be anything you want, don’t limit yourself to what you believe is “realistic”. After all, limiting beliefs may be holding you back from your true potential.
  4. Focus firmly on this goal. Imagine how, where, and which whom this goal can be achieved. These places and people can be real or imagined. The idea is that you practice a mindset where you are succeeding in your goal, and you can begin to formulate feelings of success from achieving those goals.
  5. In this meditative space, it is impossible for you to fail. If limiting beliefs or negative thoughts creep in, practice using positive affirmations and mantras. Don’t try and suppress those negative thoughts, as that will only make them more persistent. Visualize those negative thoughts slowly fading away as you introduce healthy positive associations.
  6. Visualize the accomplishment and happiness you feel from achieving your goal and remain as long as you like. Continue to breathe deeply.
  7. When you are ready, slowly return from your visualized scenario. Inhale deeply and open your eyes. You can return to this space any time you feel overwhelmed by stress, self-doubt, or negative thoughts.

Technique: Guided imagery

Purpose: To practice visualizing positive scenes and outcomes. This technique can lower stress and boost your mood.

What to do:

  1. Assume a comfortable meditative position. You can choose to sit or lie on your back.
  2. Close your eyes and begin deep-belly breathing.
  3. Visualize a place where you feel relaxed and content. This can be an actual place or somewhere that you have imagined.
  4. Imagine as much detail about your scene as possible. Describe to yourself what the sights, sounds, and feelings are. Use all your senses to imagine yourself as if you were there. Continue breathing and move around your imaginary space. Continue to describe every detail of your environment. The more detail you add, the more effective the technique.
  5. Visualize the peace and serenity you feel from being in this space and remain as long as you like. Continue to breathe deeply and explore.
  6. When you are ready, slowly return from your visualized space. Inhale deeply and open your eyes. You can return to this space any time you feel overwhelmed by stress, self-doubt, or negative thoughts.

There is one caveat to consider.

While visualizing, focus on how you want to achieve your goals. Do not concentrate only on the final success. 

You will be tricking your brain into thinking that you are already accomplished if you only visualize the final success.

You want to be motivated enough to create your new life rather than convincing yourself that you have already achieved it without putting in the work.

Final thoughts

While these techniques are extremely powerful on their own, it is a good idea to enact these methods with the help and guidance of a trained therapist and mental health professional. The caring and professional staff at Healing Arts Institute of South Florida will be able to help guide your through the most difficult parts of your journey.

Contact us today to learn about more visualization techniques and the life changing benefits of therapy. Come and set up your first appointment!

Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check back each week for a new and interesting article.

We are all wishing you hope, health, and mental well-being… Have an amazing week!

Citations:

Adams, A. J. “Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization.” Psychology Today, 3 Dec. 2009, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization.

Clarey, Christopher. “Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training.” The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/sports/olympics/olympians-use-imagery-as-mental-training.html.

Globokar, Lidija. “The Power Of Visualization And How To Use It.” Forbes, 3 Mar. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/lidijaglobokar/2020/03/05/the-power-of-visualization-and-how-to-use-it/?sh=2f14c3b06497.

O’Brien, Irena. “Why Visualization Doesn’t Work to Make Your Dreams a Reality.” The Neuroscience School, 7 Apr. 2020, neuroscienceschool.com/2019/06/20/why-visualization-doesnt-work-to-make-your-dreams-a-reality.

Raypole, Crystal. “5 Visualization Techniques to Add to Your Meditation Practice.” Healthline, 28 May 2020, www.healthline.com/health/visualization-meditation.

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