The power of forward thinking; imagining our own future – how to hone your visualisation techniques to help you achieve those life goals.
My family and I travel a lot and on the odd occasion I will get a pang of anxiety about the idea of flying and worry that something might happen to us. In order to combat this irrational fear that we are all going to plummet to an early death, I set my sights on the place we are going. I literally sit and picture us walking on the beach where we are headed, eating dinner in a restaurant in the town; even if we have never been to that location I will imagine an image of how it looks and us being there. By visualising it I begin to believe that this is what is going to actually happen, and that we will in fact arrive there in one, healthy piece because I have already seen it. Unbeknownst to me, this is an actual tool that us humans can use in order to promote good mental and physical health. Research has proven that using this forward-thinking concept we can set ourselves clear goals and mange to reach them.
What visualisation is all about…
The way that visualisation works is in fact based on all of our senses not just our sight. We combine the powers of all five of them in order to consider a situation and then picture the positive outcome that is desired. There are practical methods you can use to encourage this outcome such as storyboards and writing a journal, however the results can be delivered by simply visualising them.
When we sit quietly, relax our bodies, close our eyes and picture the outcome of any given scenario we open up neuromuscular pathways. These pathways, which link our brain to our muscles, when used, can be those which encourage us to tense up during stressful situations. When we visualise we can use those passages to allow our mind to begin an understanding of the feeling of that outcome we are picturing.
How to visualise…
According to the experts, visualisation requires peace and quiet in a comfortable, relaxed environment. You need to allocate some time to this without distraction. It can begin with a few minutes of sitting in your chosen space. Once relaxed and at peace with your goal it is time to transfer your focus from the present, or whatever is on your mind, to locate your creative side, where your imagination lies, and dip into your subconscious. This process is not dissimilar from some forms of meditation. There are techniques that can be used to achieve the right results for you; the following outlines some of the most popular.
GUIDED – If you’ve heard of, or tried, guided meditation, then you’ll be familiar with this idea already. You will be instructed by a professional and guided throughout the process as to how to achieve your particular goal. There are generic guided visualisations you can find online with the purpose of calming your anxiety, for example. Otherwise, if you are seeking a more personal goal, you can visit a professional who can hone in on your specific requirements and use the sessions to visualise these exact goals. This can be a useful method for beginners who may not know where to begin, once you master the concept you could then begin to practice by yourself.
RELIVED – This is one of the techniques that can be practiced at home by yourself, and involves mentally reliving particular situations or experiences. Once you retrieve these memories you can use them to conjure up the necessary memories to empower yourself to achieve something new that relates to it. This process allows you to access your inner strength and abilities which you may have used during a previous (positive) experience. You then apply that strength and capability to your visualisation for the future.
REHEARSAL – Explain to yourself precisely how you imagine a best-case scenario to play out regarding something important that you want to happen. Future goals can be ‘rehearsed’ or played out mentally as you sit and focus in on exactly what you are aiming for, well, the best possible outcome of a given situation. Once we have ‘seen’ what we would ideally like to occur, we can then start to try to actually live it. All five senses come into play here, as mentioned before, as we try to imagine how we would feel; what we would hear, what we would see, what we would touch, what we would smell, what we would taste. We then begin to picture the situation as a real event and predict how it will work out.
EVOCATIVE – This practice focusses your visualisation on a particular person or role model that you aspire to and how they would react to particular situations. Once you clearly ‘see’ how they would manage a scenario, you can then try to apply their qualities to yourself and emulate them when experiencing it for yourself.
Our imaginations are extremely powerful places, if we tap into them positively there is no limit to what we can achieve. So, select a technique, or develop your own specific one to your individual goals, find your dreams, look to the future, and go and visualise it!
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For those interested in the mind over matter subjects the following subjects could be of interest:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – This is a “talking therapy” that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. CBT is a powerful and practical tool for personal exploration, problem solving and development.
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – Whether working as an Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) consultant with your own specialised clinic, or simply studying for your own benefit – this course may well ‘change your life’ and the way you perceive the world around you for ever.
- Visit our A-Z Course listing page – we have over 60 holistic therapies to choose from!