Have you ever heard someone say they were using “visualization and affirmations” to “manifest” things in their life? What does that even mean? To find out how you too can create the life you want using these techniques, keep reading.
What does it mean to practice “creative visualization?”
Creative visualization is exactly what it sounds like: using your mind’s eye to create the reality you would like to experience! Put simply, it’s a tool for getting clear on what you are striving for in any area of your life so that you can move toward it. You can practice visualization for career goals, relationships, and even self-healing.
Visualization is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years, practiced by everyone from monks to kings . . . to pro-athletes. In the last decade, scientists have shown that visualization increases athletic performance by improving motivation, coordination, and concentration. Seasoned athletes call it “mental rehearsal,” because the brain is training for a performance.
According to brain scans, your brain doesn’t know the difference between something that happened, and something that you picture inside your head. This makes that you immediately more success when you do it for real.
What actually happens is this: you gain the confidence to do the activity for real, because in your mind, you’ve already done it. If you rehearse an entire event in your mind first, then that fear of the unknown can go away! If you went into a situation with complete self-confidence, do you think that would change the outcome?
In addition to confidence, visualization helps you learn a new skill faster. When you learn a new skill, your brain builds a new neural pathway. The more you activate a pathway, the stronger and more automatic it becomes.
Think about the last skill you learned. In the beginning, did you have to think about what you were doing and stumble around a little? With some persistence, did you find that it was easier to do without thinking about it?
Creative visualization is a powerful tool that anyone can use to direct their future . . . through consciously choosing a healthy Sense of Self. That’s what you’re doing when you “affirm” something to be true about your life, or visualize an outcome that would like to create in your life. Now that you know the benefits let’s get into how to do it.
Are you ready to practice creative visualization?
Everyone has a different style of visualizing, and there are many different techniques. This article will give you some basic tips and tricks that you can try out. For a more in-depth understanding, check out the book “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain.
The primary methods of using creative visualization are through meditation and affirmations. You can do a guided meditation, or just close your eyes and imagine a feeling and an experience. With affirmations, you can say them aloud, write them, and read them (for the most benefit, do all three!).
It’s important to remember that every person will have a different practice. Whether you’re more of an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner can also be taken into account when creating your practice. Try out a few things, and see what resonates with you.
Creative visualization is actually an easy practice to develop. It requires 4 basic steps and a lot of repetition.
1. Set your goal.
Decide on something you’d like to have or achieve, like a promotion, or more loving, intimate relationships, or better physical condition. Choose something that you believe is possible to obtain in the near future. This is important. If you doubt your ability to get there, visualization won’t work.
2. Get a clear picture.
Take some time to imagine yourself, having achieved your goal. Feel everything you would feel, smell, touch, hear, see, and even taste.
3. Focus on it often.
Let the image drift into your mind frequently, but don’t force it, or work at it.
4. Attach positivity to your visualization.
When you recall the image, feel happy and excited about getting it. Say or think positive affirmations to yourself as you see yourself achieving your goal.
Tips for Trying This Method of Goal Achievement
1. Always use the present tense.
Whether you’re reading affirmations aloud, or just imagining an experience with your eyes closed, make sure everything is happening in the now. You can say things like “I’m so happy that I am becoming the healthiest version of myself right now.” When you’re meditating, make sure you’re visualizing your current self having the experience. Let yourself feel exactly how you’ll feel in the moment.
2. Keep your affirmations simple, positive, and specific.
You can have multiple statements, but make sure each is to the point. They also must be positive, like: “My daughter and I enjoy each other’s company,” rather than: “My daughter and I don’t fight.”
3. Do this just after waking up each morning, or before going to sleep at night.
Your relaxed brain is often more receptive to change and growth. The reason for this has to do with the rate at which your brainwaves are functioning; they’re oscillating at a slower cycle per second when you’re calm and collected.
4. Try out some binaural beats while you practice.
Your brain operates with a variety of different wavelengths of energy. Each frequency has a specific purpose and function in the brain, and with binaural beats (a.k.a. brainwave entertainment), it’s possible to shift your mind into the wavelength that you want. Try listening to some alpha or theta waves while you visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. Your mind will be more open and receptive to learning new things at this frequency!
According to proven research, a binaural beat causes the brain to resonate in tune with that beat. For example, by creating a beat at 10Hz (an Alpha frequency), you can trigger your brain to reverberate at that same frequency, automatically inducing Alpha rage brain activity. In Alpha range, the brain can quickly and easily move into vivid and effective creative visualization.
Keep practicing your visualizations until you overcome self-doubt.
If you’re someone who has a hard time sticking to a habit (due to self-doubt or lack of willpower), don’t overwhelm yourself. The truth is, you’re already doing this right now! Without even realizing it, we all daydream or imagine things happening to us in the future.
Now you have an opportunity to start noticing what your brain is focusing on and direct it positively to your goals. You can even start small, and let yourself daydream about your dream life instead of checking your phone the next time you have a few minutes to spare.
For help on coming up with your affirmations, check out this list for inspiration.
The more you see yourself in a situation, even if it’s only in your mind’s eye, the more you start to associate with the experience. When you create and plan your goals so that they align with your healthy Sense of Self, you’ll find that you naturally, with repetition, move toward them.
Give it a shot! Let us know how it works for you in the space for comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Want to find out your current state of having a healthy sense of Self?
This article was first published by Antoinetta Vogels on LinkedIn Pulse as “How to Practice Creative Visualization” and was written by Kate Franzese.