Clients often ask me if visualization truly, honestly works. My answer is an unqualified yes! Most people find that even if they try it only once, they experience an internal shift — perhaps just a change in energy, but also insight, or a shift in the direction of simply feeling better. But if you want something more convincing, olympic athletes began using visualization for successful competition and improvement in skills many years ago! And the reported results are impressive — most simply it helps.
If you happen to be a meditator, or if you are just beginning to experiment with any kind of mindful exercises, the visualization will come even more easily. Regardless, beginners will experience results as well.
So what do you do? Try these simple steps and see how you feel, what the experience is like for you.
-Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit — where you won’t be interrupted. Have a pad of paper and pen with you so you can record anything you want to remember
-Close your eyes and begin to relax by focusing on your breath. Spend about 5 minutes simply letting yourself settle into this quiet space. Your mind will wander, and that’s perfectly normal. Just return to breathing quietly. If at any time in this process you feel even a little uncomfortable, just open your eyes and remind yourself that you are in charge of the process.
-Begin to focus on a place that you have found relaxing and rewarding … a vacation spot…a favorite park near by…a favorite chair in your home…any place that brings a smile to your face as you think about it. Imagine/see yourself in that spot. Relax into that spot. (one note: some people have trouble with visual images. In that case, just think about describing–with words– the place you have selected)
-Select something you want help with, something you want to improve or do better. Whatever that is, start to see yourself doing the THING, having the CONVERSATION, improving the SKILL, eliminating the NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR as successfully and competently as you can. (A really simple example: I once spent weeks visualizing improving my tennis serve by picturing the serve of a favorite player.)
-Create as much detail as you can imagine. Then affirm yourself for your ability to improve whatever you are working on.
-Release the image when you feel it’s complete, and return to focusing on your breath. Before opening your eyes, check your awareness of — your body, your thoughts, your feelings.
-Now record any thing you experienced that you want to remember.
-Take your time bringing yourself back to the present moment in time…..see how you feel. If it helps even just a little, try to repeat the visualization for a few days, and see if you notice any change in your behavior. If the ONLY result is awareness, that is progress for most of us.
The main issue is that most of us want to improve…. this is a fairly simple and basic way to experiment. Read about visualization. In my books there are more examples of this work. So consider reading Your Personal Stress Analysis or Release From Powerlessness: Take Charge of Your Life. And “google visualization” for more ideas.
Ask any questions….and any time you encounter difficulty or feelings that are confusing, ask for help. You deserve to feel as good as you can.