Written by Dr. Eric Perry
Image Credit: Pixabay
“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.” ~Albert Einstein
In my professional life, I recommend to my patients that they practice a bit of time travel. I ask them to imagine traveling into the future and to make positive visualizations about the time to come. They can imagine whatever they wish, but it must be positive. By focusing our minds on positivity, we can learn to quiet the internal negative voice as we start projecting positive growth in our lives. Positive visualization allows us to quiet our minds and to bring order to our thoughts. It allows us to harness the power of our imagination. I believe our imagination is a powerful tool that is underutilized. The world’s greatest achievements only exist because someone imagined them. Airplanes only exist because humans dared to imagine flight.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” ~Albert Einstein
By practicing daily positive visualizations, we can begin to clear any blockage caused by our negative core beliefs. Many of these dark thoughts are caused by past trauma, which invades our present lives causing us chaos and pain. Anchored to past trauma, we are unable to move forward. We habitually return to moments in our lives when extreme emotions such as pain and fear create a cognitive stumble that acts as a roadblock to future happiness. By letting go of the past, we can set the stage for a more positive future path and set the course for a healthier and more successful life.
By engaging in positive visualization, we allow ourselves to have mental rehearsals to our desired future. This creates mental pathways and patterns necessary for the events to happen. The future world we create in our imagination becomes so alluring that we will take action to make it happen. We will begin to take the necessary steps to create and affirm our future world. We are training our mind to believe that what we want to be true is already true.
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~Albert Einstein
Here are some of the amazing benefits of visualization:
Visualization is frequently used by elite athletes to improve their performance in training and competition. For example, an athlete will visualize themselves making the free throw to win the game. Another may focus on beating their marathon time. By rehearsing the outcome, they begin to believe in the visualized future. Research shows that mental practice is almost as effective as physical practice and that doing both is more effective than doing only one. In one study, some participants went to the gym and lifted weights and other participants did both. The participants that did both had more muscle mass than the other group. Further, the participants who only visualized had an increase in muscle mass.
2. Increased relaxation
Visualizing a positive experience allows us to block out the excessive external stimulation and helps us focus on the pleasant experience. Our body will respond by lowering our heart rate and we will experience relaxation as if we are actually encountering the experience.
2. Increased joy
Daily visualization is an instant mood booster. The only limitation to the joy you can experience is your imagination. Visualize yourself surrounded by something pleasurable that leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Puppies? Kittens? How about both! I guarantee you will open your eyes and be in a better mood.
3. Better health
Visualization will help reduce stress, relax your mind and increase the “happy” in your life. This will help lower your blood pressure, increase your white blood cells and keep you healthy.
4. Improved focus
With visualization, you are training your mind to focus in extreme detail. By practicing visualization repeatedly, your mind will be less restless and you will be able to focus more easily.
5. Greater goal achievement
When you visualize yourself accomplishing your goals, you are more likely to attempt the necessary steps in order to make them a reality.
Here are some steps to visualize a happier, healthier and more successful future. Make sure to engage all of your senses:
Create a vision board and externalize your thoughts by using imagery. Use photographs, magazine cutouts or images of people succeeding in areas related to your goal. Acknowledge every milestone towards your goal. Visualize yourself achieving what you desire.
Write down your visualizations using as much detail as possible and read them back to yourself. We can also use the sounds of nature to visualize ourselves in a tranquil place away from traffic and other stressors. We can listen to the birds chirping and the wind moving through the trees. If we are preparing for a competition, we can imagine the applause or roar of the crowd as we take our victory lap.
Pay attention to how your body feels. Imagine yourself in the desired outcome and role play. If you are trying to get a promotion, play the role with a friend or your partner. Play out the act of accepting the promotion and say your acceptance speech. Have fun and use props! Perhaps, write yourself a check as your signing bonus.
Certain scents evoke pleasant feelings while others might repulse us. What smell makes you think of home or of love? Use your nose to set the mood. Light a scented candle that reminds you of a pleasant time or surround yourself with vases of freshly cut flowers.
When possible, use your sense of taste. If there is somewhere you wish to visit, include visualizing and tasting the food. While in Paris I had the pleasure of eating a freshly baked lemon tart. Even now, I can close my eyes and imagine myself biting into it. My mouth will respond by salivating as if I am tasting the sourness of the lemon. Yum!
This post is dedicated to Albert Einstein. He was a man who dared to daydream his way to a Nobel prize in Physics. Harness the power of your thoughts and join me in visualizing a happier, healthier and more successful life.
The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a therapeutic relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a mental health professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific mental health questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
M.A. in Clinical Psychology
B.A. in Psychology
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