One of the best ways to deal with a post-holiday slump — or mid-winter blues — is to engage in a daily practice of positive visualization. Visualization is a powerful force, and whether we are aware of it or not, the unconscious mind constantly sends and receives visual messages, images of things we want, or don’t want, in our lives. If you allow negative, default visualization to run through your mind all day, you may notice the negative emotions resulting from the negative images: anxiety, disquiet, frustration, hopelessness, melancholy. On the other hand, when you make positive visualization a regular part of your day, every day, you experience positive emotions like peace, joy and love, and you’ll notice an increase in your creativity, inspiration, and optimism. In short, your attitude will improve. And attitude is everything!
Visualization sessions don’t need to be long. I’ve found that about fifteen or twenty minutes a day is beneficial, and it doesn’t take a lot of planning to set aside that much time. The first step in visualization is to relax. Breathe slowly and deeply, and find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and let your mind and your muscles unwind. Concentrate on the present moment, and be aware of your body, your senses, and your emotions. Consciously engage in feeling any of the positive, “higher” emotions: love, peace, joy, enthusiasm, gratitude. Then begin to create and to project the positive images in your mind’s eye.
If you’re currently working toward a deadline, you may choose to visualize yourself completing your project early. See yourself finishing up the work, getting excellent results, and celebrating the accomplishment. While you are visualizing, be sure to continue to feel the positive emotions — see yourself accomplishing, and then feel how good it feels to arrive at the deadline early. Strong positive emotion will turbo-charge your visualization, and it also will help your brain to manufacture more of the “feel good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Positive visualization, when channeled consciously, will propel you forward toward your goals and dreams. Athletes visualize each and every movement in an upcoming race or game, and visualize winning. Performers visualize themselves onstage, getting a standing ovation, etc. If you can see it, you can believe it, and if you can believe it, you can achieve it. As you’re envisioning all of this, and experiencing the strong positive emotion, exercise your faith, that is, a feeling of confidence and certainty that this is possible.
It’s okay to start small and work your way up. Begin with a a minute or two of visualization each day. Allow yourself to experiment: set a short term, easy-to-reach, but measurable goal, and visualize your way to it. If you try this, without judging, and with an open mind, you will be surprised how quickly you’ll see results. The simple act of relaxing and visualizing a peaceful scene can reduce stress, increase energy and elevate mood.
If you’re reading this, and you’re already proficient in the art of visualization, please comment and share some of your favorite techniques for relaxing, or ways that you have used visualization to your benefit. Or maybe you’d like to share some of the things you’ve achieved with the help of visualization. I look forward to hearing from you.