Visualizations are a very important part of achieving what you want and being more in love with life than you already may be.
If you manage to also connect “pictures” in your mind to those affirmations, you supercharge your positive energies and the speed at which you will achieve to gain more happiness in your life.
Visualizations are not so different from that.
Visualizations may be very easy for some of you, but since a lot of people are struggling with visualizations, I want to give you some tips & tricks today on how to get started more easily with visualizations’.
So let’s get started, shall we!?
The term “visualizations” so often used nowadays, in our context, is actually the short form of “creative visualizations.”
In the merriam-webster, it is explained as the formation of mental visual images and the act or process of interpreting in visual terms or of putting into visible form.
Psychology Today published a quite nice definition of “visualization” as well: Visualization is a cognitive tool accessing imagination to realize all aspects of an object, action or outcome. This may include recreating a mental, sensory experience of sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch.
In psychological practice, visualization is often used to mentally rehearse an action or bring a patient to a state of relaxation. Dr. Cathryne Maciolek, a D.C. area psychotherapist, uses visualization in her clinical practice. She quotes Rosabeth Moss Kanter to illustrate the power of the technique, "A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”
I believe visualization is an extremely powerful, very healthy way of bringing positive energy into your mind, body, and spirit. It can be used to “attract” positive things into your life, it can be used as a trigger to feeling good, and it can be used to overcome fear, or reshape negative memories into more positive or “harmless” ones.
But I also have to admit that it took me quite some practice until I was able to use it in a way to achieving a more positive mindset and I am sure that even after a lot of practice it can still be improved with more practice.
It is very common for athletes to use this technique in order to achieve the most out of their training. A lot of coaches ask their players to imagine how they score and win a game. It’s part of mental preparation. It is part of building up their self-confidence before the big games and yes, obviously you might argue that not every game every team can win, and you are very correct to point that out. But it is possible for every player to play their best in every game by successfully using visualization techniques. Note, using a visualization technique does not mean that those athletes stop training. They train just as much as they used to train before, they simply add the visualization technique to their training to enhance their training. Visualization without action won’t get you far.
The four most important requirements for creative visualization to be fully effective are the desire to create what you have decided to visualize, the belief in what you have chosen to attain through your visualization, including the certainty that you will attain it and third but not least the acceptance of having whatever you have visualized as your goal.
Once you have made up your mind and are sure to have the desire, the belief, the certainty, and the acceptance, the first step is to set some designated time apart and find a quiet place. The same way as I explained in my blog- post about meditation, I personally recommend to choose an indoor place where you will be undisturbed for the time chosen and where you can regulate the temperature, shut the windows and doors to have less disturbance.
The next step is to start relaxing. Sit in a comfortable upright position (same as explained in our blog-post about meditation), close your eyes, take a few deep breaths to clear your mind, smile, breathe deeply and steadily, count slowly from 20 to 1 while relaxing all of your muscles.
Once you feel as if your thoughts have calmed down, you can get started with imagining your desired outcome. What you want to do is converting your thoughts into mental images. Images which you can see right in front of your closed eyes, they need to be as clear and vivid as watching a movie. Don’t worry you will get there after some practice; it is not as difficult as it may sound at first. In a certain way, you have always been creating images in your mind. We all think in images, all the time – even now, as you read this post, your mind is creating mental images based on the words you read here: Pink sunglasses, sunny day, business success, cute smile, dancing, laughing, kids running across the backyard in muddy shoes on a rainy day etc. etc. We could continue this for hours. When was the last time you were planning a holiday with your family or a surprise party for a friend? When planning you usually create your own mental previews, your own mental movies, at that moment you are actually already visualizing to a certain extent. But what you want to do when using planned, creative visualizing is imagine your ideal outcome, the perfect scenery of your wish, dream, desire coming true, and you want to picture it as if it was already happing right now in the present. Let’s say: your goal was more happiness, then you would need to picture yourself smiling, laughing, happy. Picture yourself doing something you really enjoy with a huge smile on your face. Maybe you picture yourself spending time with your loved ones, or maybe you picture yourself finally having the time to cuddle up on the sofa and read that awesome book that you have wanted to read for so long, maybe you picture yourself dancing, or cooking or whatever it is that you know gives you this wonderful feeling of happiness. Feel that feeling. Embrace it. Try to locate where this feeling is strongest in your body. Feel it growing bigger and filling up your whole body, even radiating to the area around you. Now you not only have the picture of this happy moment in front of your closed eyes, but you can also feel the happiness, you have a huge smile on your face which you cannot get rid of. This is exactly what we need. Imagine the picture as detailed as possible. Try to use all your senses. Are you sitting outside in the backyard with your family? Does it feel warm? Can you smell the flowers or the steak on the grill? Look at the details, what are you wearing, what are you doing, how do your surrounding look, feel, smell?
Once whatever you are picturing feels real to you, it is time to get back to your day. Smile take a few deep breaths. Count until five, slowly open your eyes. Be grateful for the fact that whatever it is you are visualizing is already on its way to becoming your new reality. Be happy that tomorrow again you will be able to set some time apart and visualize. The key to this practice to work efficiently is practice and repetition. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to picture certain situations, recall certain feelings, anchor certain smells to certain types of feelings and goals you are trying to achieve. Remember, a single thought, like a single raindrop, won’t make a garden bloom. You have to water the garden regularly.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that it is very important to focus on the outcome and not on the how to. The main point of this exercise is for your subconscious to start getting to work. You don’t need it all to be planned out already. Your subconscious will do that for you. The more you practice, the more often you visualize. The easier it will be for your subconscious mind to lead the way and show you need opportunities and ways you may have never even been thinking about. That is where the faith comes in, believe you can, and you’re already halfway there.
Another important factor, which I cannot stress enough, is to act upon the opportunities your subconscious is showing you. Be open for new ways. Trust your intuition. Follow your natural instincts.
A wonderful exercise Richard Bach introduces in his book Illusions is starting by visualizing a blue feather. It’ s texture, it’s softness, it’s color, etc. try doing that for a few days and somewhere in your normal life you will encounter a blue feather. This will show you that visualization really helps you shift your thoughts towards whatever it is you are trying to visualize, to attract into your life. Seeing how “easy” it is to do that by visualizing this blue feather, will strengthen your belief in visualization and your own abilities. Which again will make it a lot easier to visualize, whatever it is that you would actually like to visualize. So after encountering the blue feather in your real life, it is time to get started with visualizing your real dreams and goals.
Once you have visualized your “goal” at least once, try to bring your idea or mental picture to mind as often as possible, both in quiet moments designated for visualization practice, and also casually throughout the day, when you happen to think of it. In this way, it becomes an integrated part of your life, and it becomes more of a reality for you. When you think of it during the day, however, keep in mind then even though it is good to think of it here and there as well, it at the same time is very important, that you focus on it clearly, yet in a light, relaxed way. If you are striving too hard for it or putting an excessive amount of energy into it — it tends to hinder rather than help. So if the thought of it comes up, smile, follow the thought for a little and then let it flow on again.
Another thing that really helps me is connecting it with a positive affirmation, which I make myself notice consciously as well as subconsciously throughout the whole day. I.e., yes you guessed it right, I love connecting my visualizations, to my bags, shirts, long sleeves, and sweatshirts from our InLoveWithLife collection. So let’s say my goal is to feel happier, I try to visualize myself being happy, I think to myself while visualizing the thought “I am happy” as it is written on one of my favorite shirts. In the following days, I will try to wear that shirt whenever possible. Since I connected my visualization to that positive affirmation, which now due to the shirt, keeps reappearing throughout the day, I do exactly what I had described in my previous statement. I smile, think of it lightly for a moment, I smile again and let it go. Every time I use this method, it seems at least to me as if whatever I am visualizing, seems to come true even faster and easier than without this little trick. Obviously, this is mainly related to visualizing happiness, luck, gratefulness, smiling more often, noticing the beauty in life more often and being more in love with life, since as you know, these are the main core values of our collections positive affirmations.
Once you have achieved something you kept on visualizing, make sure to acknowledge it. Make sure to smile and feel grateful for the fact that you managed to bring it into your life. Be proud of yourself for doing such an amazing visualization job and spread those positive vibes and energies that this thought will carry to everyone around you.
A lot of us, are already really good at visualizing, even though they might not even know. Unfortunately, a lot of us, without noticing it, use it for procrastination. They use it to make their worries and fears come true. A lot of times when people think of something that might happen, they actually play it out in front of their own eyes, they picture it in their mind, they feel the negative emotions it brings with it and even worse, since they are worried by it, maybe even afraid of it happening, they spread those negative vibes even more by telling others about it, becoming more and more convinced that it will become true, every time they say it out loud.
If you are one of those people I would like to congratulate you, you already know how to do two very important things when trying to visualize. First of all, you know how to visualize; you only have to learn to simply hold your negative thought when you realize it comes up, turn it into a positive that (the easiest way is always to think of something you are grateful for) and visualize your dreams and goals instead. Second of all you know, willingly or not, the huge impact it may have to tell others about your thoughts. We haven’t spoken about the second part yet. Speaking to others in a positive manner about what you are visualizing as if it already was happening now. As kids, we come up with all kind of stories. We tell our friends how awesome this tea party is that we are planning out in our minds for our dolls. Or how amazing that treehouse is which we will someday live in etc. etc. We sometimes should be speaking our dreams out loud. Obviously, that is, if you are not shy to do so and if you have someone who you trust enough not to laugh but to join you in this exercise. Take your husband, best friend, mom, etc. and ask them to do a story night. A story night about positive stories you would love to come true and then take turns, let the others who joined your story night speak their dreams out loud as well, let them also supercharge the energy of manifestation.
Another advice I would like to give you is to be patient with yourself and grateful for the progress you are making. Small things can happen almost instantaneously; larger things may need time to develop. So have faith, be patient and delight in the process as you watch your life transform before your eyes! Acknowledge the fact that every day you are practicing your visualizations you learn more and become stronger and better at picturing what it is you want in your life. With every time you visualize it becomes easier to focus on more details, to connect more feelings, to make your inner image more precise. Be open-minded with your visualizations; your subconscious mind knows no limits unless you force limits onto it. As previously mentioned already, “the how” should not be of your concern so, visualize as big and amazing as you like. As big and amazing as it feels good to you. Smile and see what your subconscious can achieve if you let it. You are capable of amazing things. Just give it a try. As long as it is something you truly desire you have the possibility to make it your own reality. This is a very crucial part; it needs to be something you desire and not something someone else wants you to achieve, you need to be the one who wants to be happy, who wants to be grateful, etc. if you truly want it and continuously visualize it, your dreams will become reality. As one of my favorite bags says: follow your dreams and the rest will follow you.
At the beginning of this blog-post I stated that I believe visualization can be used to “attract” positive things into your life, it can be used as a trigger to feeling good, and it can be used to overcome fear or reshape negative memories into more positive or “harmless” ones.
We have spoken quite some about attracting positive “things” into our lives. But what did I mean by all those other statements?
Visualization can be used as a trigger to feeling good.
I kind of hinted at that point when mentioning that I like to anchor positive statements to my visualizations, preferably some that I will be consciously as well as subconsciously be seeing on my clothing.
I connect, positive feelings with positive situations I visualize, when visualizing I try to imagine one of the sweatshirts with positive statements I have, I like to picture myself smiling, enjoying the coffee, smelling the coffee, feeling the warm coffee cup, etc. etc. I try to anchor things which I know I usually encounter serval times throughout the day and connect them to feeling good, being happy, being in love with life. This way, whenever I see the sweatshirt I was imagining, whenever I smell the coffee, hold the warm cup in my hand, etc. etc. a warm feeling of positivity overcomes me. I simply start feeling good, I smile and feel good, because I trained my mind to knowing that those are things I like that make me feel good.
Last but not least, I had also said: visualization can be used to overcome fear or reshape negative memories into more positive or “harmless” ones.
This is a slightly different and slightly more complicated method, which, however, to my belief, carries immense power to change anything in your life. We all know that a negative way of looking at something is the main cause for not feeling good or happy in certain moments and situations. The younger we are, the less negative thoughts we have. We are open to the world, we are curious, and we believe everything is possible. But the older we get, the more fears we develop. There are different reasons for different fears, and different fears will have lesser or stronger impacts on our current lives. When trying to change your thinking to a more positive less fearful thinking one way is to go back to the roots of those negative thoughts and situations, to visualize them but in our visualizations change the way we experience them. Once you are confident in your abilities, I encourage you to try this on some situations in the past which you know did not make you feel so good. However, be careful with tackling very negative memories on your own. If you do have memories where the thought of them still makes you feel very bad today, I recommend you to tackle those with the help of a well-trained psychologist instead of trying to change them all on your own. I don’ t think I have to go into detail and explain the difference between a memory that makes you feel bad and one that makes you feel really bad. I am sure that all of you are fully capable of judging what mindsets they will be able to chance on their own and for which ones it is better to have some assistance.
Let’s take a simple example on a memory where I used this technique to overcome a fear. I used to be scared of bugs. Reason being, where I grew up we do have bugs yes, but we have small bugs, like tiny little ones and even though it always founds them kind of disgusting as a kid, they were just so small and tiny that they were not really a big deal. Things changed the first time I went to the States and Mexico. I was still a little kid you know. One night I woke up since I felt as if something would have been crawling on my hand. When opening my eyes, I instinctively waved my hand. Being half awake, I thought I saw something huge flying in the air. I checked under my bed. I could see something huge, something black. Honestly, I got scared. Like really scared. I ran to turn on the light. I checked again under the bed. It was still there; it was a bug, not just small and disgusting, huge and disgusting, at least the size of my thumb, and it had been crawling over my arm while I was sleeping. Needless to say as a kid this was a terrifying experience for me, and I spent the night on the sofa will all the lights switched on. Ever since I felt kind of scared of bugs, when we went back home, I even felt really uncomfortable when seeing the small little bugs I had been so used to before this incident. Honestly, I was not able to shake this negative feeling when seeing bugs until I was old enough to try visualization.
So here is what I did: after having practiced visualization for quite some time already and believing in myself and my capabilities. I took a few deep breaths, made sure I was completely calm and relaxed and I pictured that night where I woke up due to the “huge” bug crawling over my arm. Only this time I changed my thoughts about the whole situation. I pictured myself, being curious since I hadn’t seen a bug by the size of my thumb before. I pictured myself being amazed by the size of it. I pictured myself turning on the light and checking under the bed the same way I did in my memories, the difference being the feelings and thoughts that I remembered and the ones I used to replace them with, in my visualization. In the new image playing out in front of my eyes now, I was simply checking under the bed again, because I wanted to see this cool bug again since I had never seen anything like it. I checked under the bed because of curiosity not because of fear. I slept on the sofa with the lights on because I did not want to miss when the bug came out of under the bed because I wanted to see it, not because I was scared.
I do admit I had to repeat this particular visualization exercise quite a few times before not feeling disgusted anymore whenever I see a bug. But I can assure you that when I see a bug now, it does not bother me at all. So I think, I successfully used visualization to overcome one of my personal fears and to reshape one of my personal negative memories. And even though I still don’t feel as if this was the best memory I ever had (trust me I have a lot of wonderful and amazing memories in my life so far), it sure now has become a “harmless” memory as I like to call it.
I can’t stress enough how powerful visualization can be. I am sure it will still take me a lot more practice to even begin to understand what I am capable of. But visualization can be used in a lot of different areas in your life. Remember, your mind and your body are connected in a lot of ways. The right mindset is said to be able to have enormous effects on your mental well-being as well as your physical well-being. There have been tons of success stories of people achieving amazing things through visualization. People who were able to extremely improve their health and living situations in ways people would never have imagined and while I do not want to claim that all of those stories are true, I strongly believe there is no harm in trying to bring out the best in you by trying out visualization.
If you tried it consistently for a few weeks and you feel it is not the right way for you, you prefer letting yourself be more in love with life through meditation, yoga, exercise, music, etc. etc. that is completely fine. Not every method, not every exercise that helps someone to achieve a more positive mindset has to be the right one for you. Different people enjoy different methods. The reason I like to introduce them in my blog posts; the reason I like to give you as many tips & tricks on the way to try them out as easily as possible, is simply that I want to help you find whatever it is that makes you enjoy your life and be in love with life more than you could have ever imagined. And once you found the tips and tricks that help you in your daily life. Share them! Spread those positive energies and vibes! Help us let more people fall in love with life with us. But keep in mind, what worked for you does not necessarily have to work for someone else. Give them the benefit of trying different ways and finding their own way as well!
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