Oprah Winfrey once said, “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” This is the magic of visualization.
In fact, successful entrepreneurs, athletes, actors, musicians, business leaders, and celebrities regularly use visualization techniques to be the best version of themselves. It’s also recommended among healthcare professionals as an effective tool for managing anxiety and stress.
Clearly, visualization works across a wide span of applications to help people imagine their futures, achieve their goals, handle stress, and so much more. So how can you make it work for you?
Getting Started With Visualization
So what exactly is visualization?
In its most simplified form, visualization is the picture in your mind of the things that you want most in your life. The act of visualization is often done in tandem with meditation or other mindfulness practices. Yet unlike traditional meditation where you work to stay present, this focuses on your future.
To begin, you find a quiet place, close your eyes, calm your body, and pulling from your heart’s deepest desires, create a sankalpa – a positive statement in the present tense as though it’s already happening. You can either mentally say this or speak it aloud.
You may also opt to write out your sankalpa to help your brain move into future mode. Some examples of sankalpa statements (or affirmations) could be something as concrete as “I have the job of my dreams,” to something deeper such as, “I am brave and capable of facing adversities with aplomb.”
Another great option for visualizing the future is to create a vision board. This is done by filling a blank poster with snippets and pictures from magazines that represent what you want in your life, then placing it in a place of prominence so you see it with regularity.
The Magic of Visualization
Does it seem ridiculous?
For many, when they first start practicing visualization, it can seem like a lot of new-age silliness. But here’s the science behind it: if you think or speak a statement enough, your brain can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fiction.
As such, you’ll begin to take actions that help you to meet those affirmations. If appropriate, you may even add movements to your visualization/meditation to reinforce the affirmation on a bodily level. This is often what athletes and performers do.
When you attempt your own visualization session, consider the following questions:
Step 1. What Do You Want?
There might be multiple things you want. For now, it’s best if you start with just one dream or goal so as not to gum up the works too much.
For example, let’s say you’ve had an amazing idea for a book and you want to write it. So you’d start there.
Step 2. What Does That Look Like?
Whatever you’ve chosen for your visualization, put yourself there. Be specific and include as many details as you can imagine.
So in our example of wanting to write a book, you may imagine typing the final word onto the manuscript. Notice the room around you. What color are the walls? Are there pictures on the walls? Are you by yourself or is someone there with you? What are the sounds around you? Is the chair you’re sitting in soft? Employ every one of your senses to bring the vision to life.
In addition, note what you’re feeling and experiencing. Maybe you lean back into your chair and take a deep breath of satisfaction. You know what you’ve written is good and feel confident it will be published and people will want to read it. You remember how connected you felt to life while you wrote it.
Step 3. What Are the Steps to Get There?
Knowing the necessary steps to achieve your goal or dream is crucial. So before you actually take these steps, take time to visualize them.
What will you need to do to write that book to completion? Visualize yourself sitting in your writing space and committing to some amount of time each day. Picture your hands as they type on the keyboard (or write with a pencil or pen, if that’s your thing). Imagine what beverage might be sitting next to you that you sip while you write.
Sit with the idea of how you might publish the book once it’s completed. Visualize you’re sending the manuscript to publishers or going the route of self-publishing.
During visualization, you want to focus only on what you want and not on what you don’t. So keep your attention on positive feelings and steer clear of the negative ones that want to derail your visualization.
Step 4. When Do You Want to Start?
Of course, if you have something concrete such as writing a book, you may set up for yourself a starting date for the project. Say, in three weeks. Then be sure to do a complete visualization at least once per day until that date arrives. This commitment to being consistent will further convince your brain that you can make this happen. Your vision becomes stronger and far more likely to come to fruition.
But what if you don’t have a concrete project in mind? What if you’re trying to be more assertive in your overall everyday situations? Then you’ll still want to do these visualizations every day until you start to notice changes.
In both cases, think of visualization as training – just as you would for a swim meet or a baseball game. But in this case, rather than training your body, you’re training your mind for a successful outcome. And what’s more, you can do it just about anywhere and at any time.
No pool or baseball field required.
Could Visualization Help You Find Success?
Well, now that you understand the magic of visualization, the short answer is yes!
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. And some of us have more luck when we work with others in mindfulness practices or even a life coach to help us get motivated.
So if you’re in the latter crowd, contact us today! Our in-person and virtual mindfulness practices and life coaching services will get you onto that forward trajectory!