Where do you see yourself in five years? How do you imagine your future partner like? How much money will you make? Can you confidently reply to all these questions? How would you react if someone asked you these questions? In other words, have you figured everything out yet? Congratulations! Then there’s no need for you to read further.
If you’re still unsure about how to answer all the questions, rest assured, you’re not alone, and the good news is that there’s a tool out there that can help you with it: visualization.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, visualization is “the act of visualizing something or someone” or “forming a picture of it in your mind”. It’s almost like looking through a particular lens, your unconsciousness, your imagination, your deepest desires, and seeing your life unfold within your inner eye.
If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve itMuhammad Ali
Visualization has been used for a very long time in sports. The quote above my Muhammed Ali shows that he truly believed in the power of visualization. But he’s not the only one who used visualization in his successful sports career. Arnold Schwarzenegger was also a big believer in visualizing how he wanted to look like and kept on imagining it. Later on, he used the same technique in politics and acting. A study found that imagining to move certain parts of your bodies almost trains the muscles as much as the actual movement. Our mind is literally very powerful!
Anything you can imagine, you can create.Oprah Winfrey
You can’t really argue with Oprah, can you? And it’s not only her who believes in the power of affirmations and visualizations. Jim Carrey apparently wrote a check of over $ 10 million to himself every night during the time when he wasn’t famous yet. It so happened that three years later, he received exactly this amount for starring in Dumb and Dumber.
Visualization, also called imagery helps you reduce stress as well. It is used among healthcare professionals as an effective stress management tool. Studies have shown that novice surgeons who received imagery training demonstrated reduced self-reported stress and decreased objective stress. The same goes for police officers. You clearly see that visualization works for all groups of people and in all kinds of situations: it helps you to achieve your goals, to imagine your future, to deal with stress and much more.
But, how do you do it in real life? How can you tap into the power of visualization and enjoy all its benefits? Generally speaking, you need to imagine the specific situation in as many details as possible using all your senses – you can see it, smell it, hear it, feel it and taste it. For many people, it helps when they close their eyes, and then there are others who prefer to write it all down instead of doing it purely in their mind.
Writing affirmations helps your mind as well to get into the future mode. When you write affirmations, write in present tense, and be careful not to write too many. Start with “I” followed by something that you wish you had accomplished already or how you want to be in the future, e.g. “I am strong and face all adversities with grace.”, “I have a publishing empire with 100 employees and 5 offices worldwide.” Try to be as specific as possible. The trick behind it is that our brain cannot differentiate between what is already true and what is fiction. Hence, your brain will think that you already own that publishing empire and you’ll start acting accordingly, unconsciously. If you add a little bit of embodiment to it and think of a posture that incorporates a specific affirmation very well, your body will also “save” it and the more often you do it, the quicker you’ll be able to get into the mindset of your future self.
Another way of visualizing your future is to create a vision board. In short, you take a blank poster and fill it with snippets and pictures from magazines that represent what you want your life to look like in a certain amount of time; it could be 6 months, 3 years, or more. It’s important to put the finished vision board in a prominent place in your office or apartment so that you are regularly reminded of it.
As you can see, it’s about visualizing in your mind, on paper, or a blank canvas. Approach it with a curious and open mind, and try out different options so that you find what works best for you. One of its biggest advantages is that you can literally do it everywhere – on the train, at home, at work. Your mind is truly powerful, so keep exploring and create the life you want with the help of visualization.