I started visualising many, many years ago. The reason for me was that I was told if you visualise your future, it is very likely to happen. Now, to be clear, that is not what today’s exercise is about. Although there is many a self-help book suggesting visualising is a likely way to realise your dreams, looking back over my past visualisation exercises (and there have been many!), some of it has come true (it could well have happened anyway), some simply hasn’t (there could be any number of reasons why). For me, that’s no longer what it’s about.
The primary reason for today’s exercise is that research shows that visualising reduces anxiety, increasing positivity and improving optimism levels, not just in the short term after the actual exercise, but in the longer term if repeated. For me, this was definitely true, and an additional positive was that if I was feeling really down, it enabled me to go to a ‘happy’ place, see myself in the best positive light, and as I often say ‘exercise that happiness muscle’, which at that time had been out of practice. It also gave me hope. Wherever you are on your happiness continuum, visualisation can have its benefits. But at the time when I first started, imagining being in such a great space left me feeling considerably better, and calmer, than before!
Visualisation is all about creating the images, sounds and feelings in your mind surrounding an activity, or a time, in the future – with the goal of practising it in a ‘positive’ or ‘perfect’ environment. The idea of today’s exercise is to imagine yourself, your best possible self, and to really feel how it feels; so you can see in close detail, hear the sounds, smell the smells. Following on from yesterday, and discovering your ‘personal character strengths’, you should hopefully be able to summons up the imagination! The process of visualising your best possible self is also another way to remind yourself of what your strengths are, and to think about how these strengths can actually impact your life in a positive way.
Some find visualisation easy, others harder – and there are many different approaches. But for today, try this simple technique of visualising your best self in the future. Find a quiet spot before you begin and ideally meditate or quieten your mind first. Then decide what time frame you will look at, and you can even choose a particular area of your life like work, relationships or romance. Visualise for around fifteen minutes and ideally write it down for future reference – this will also provide motivation to move towards your goals. If possible, repeat this exercise daily and see if it leads to change!
Please click here for further research on Visualisation.