The Power of Visualization

I just returned from a camping trip with my husband and kids. It reminded me again how much I love being outdoors and how I don’t make enough time for it. 

Fortunately, I’ve cultivated some tools over the years to help me learn from my mistakes, like not spending enough time in nature, and to correct course sooner than later.

I don’t stay stuck in poor habits or bad moods as long as I used to. I move through emotions and negative thinking much faster. Not because I’m suppressing my feelings or ignoring reality (I did a lot of that in my younger years), but because I have tools to help and I make a conscious effort to use them. 

Like the power of visualization! When I’m feeling stuck, I like to imagine who I want to be instead, how my future self feels and acts.  It’s fun! Like daydreaming with purpose. 

Did you know the brain doesn’t differentiate between a real memory and an imagined (visualized) one? This means that when you imagine something vividly and with feeling, your brain chemistry changes as though the experience was real, and then your mind records it like a real memory.

Here are some ways you can experience the power of visualization:

  1. Close your eyes and relax your body.

  2. Imagine the situation or future event you want different. Make the scene as real as you can using all your senses. The more vividly you can imagine the scene, the better it will be recorded in your mind as a “memory.”

  3. Incorporate strong positive emotions. Imagine how it will FEEL and then bask in those feelings for as long as possible. This is important: without strong emotions attached, the brain can’t record it as a real memory. 

  4. Make visualization a habit! Carve out a few minutes every day for it. Soon you will notice changes in your behavior, thinking, confidence and outlook. 

I’m going to imagine myself being the kind of person who schedules nature time and sticks to it. I’ll visualize myself honoring my intentions to hike or walk and meditate outside. I’ll allow myself to really feel the joy and peace that it brings. I know these new memories will help me do it more often and when I can’t, to experience the benefits anyway. 

How can you use the power of visualization in your life today?