One of the fastest ways I've ever changed my circumstances was to start to imagine the lifestyle that I wanted as if it was in the now. For so long, I had been focusing on what I didn't want that I continued to get more of that. It wasn't until I finally realized that wasn't working that I decided to do the opposite and really let myself dream, explore and think about what it is that I did want. I wrote pages and pages in a journal every day of how I wanted my day to go, what my life was like and the types of people that surrounded me. In just 3 short months, I had a job offer in a new city and they were paying me to move there. As scared as I was, I took the leap and went after it. Doing that was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I look back on that time and I'm so proud of myself for what I did. I was so focused on creating a new life for myself, I wouldn't take no for an answer. I describe that time in my life as the red carpet being rolled out for me. Because it was, things just kept lining up for me in my favor. I have talked a lot over the years about this in my podcast, Create What You Speak about how I did this. In the early episodes, I recount a lot of what it was like to do go through the experience of changing my life so drastically. There are a lot of episodes to go back and listen to if you want to find out more about how I did this.
As time has went on (it's been nearly 5 years now since I made that massive change) I find myself falling back into old habits. You know the ones, the negative thought patterns that want to come up or the worn-out stories on repeat that just won't go away. In this article, I thought it would be a good time to remind ourselves (myself included) why visualization is so important and how it can change your life for the better if you let it.
What is Visualization?
You may have heard the term visualization, but what is it exactly and why is it so important? It's important to come back to what it is, even if you've been using visualization techniques for awhile, to remember the power behind it.
Visualization is a form of guided imagery that helps you visually see in your minds eye what you want and in doing so, it allows you to experience the feelings of what having what you want will feel like. After all, the reason we want what we want is because we think it will make us feel better! Visualization helps you to focus, even if it's just for a short amount of time, to get in that positive state of feeling what you want. Once you start to feel how it is to have what you want in your body, your subconscious mind gets on board and you can go back to these positive feelings over and over again. As you are experiencing these positive feelings, your thoughts start to change because you are envisioning, and can literally feel in your body, a different outcome. This in turn changes your behaviors for the better because as I say on my show "when your thoughts change your behaviors change".
We all know that our thoughts have an enormous impact on our emotions, our energy, and our actions. And we also know that our thoughts are controlled by what we focus on most in life. Think about it, when you are thinking of negative scenarios, you are using visualization but in a negative way. So why not focus on outcomes you want instead? The visualizations we create in our minds about our lives, the world, and our experiences are powerful and significantly impact our reality. If you want to change how you feel, then you need to change what you think about the most!
How Do I Overcome Negative Thinking with Visualization?
If you are like me, you want to start visualizing so you can get away from the negative thoughts that feel terrible. Thinking negatively isn't always a bad thing. We are human and we are allowed to experience the full range of emotions and negativity is one of those emotions. If someone has done something to hurt you, it's o.k. to feel what you need to feel about that situation. We should never skim over how we feel or pretend we don't feel a certain way. Those emotions will get stuck inside you and come out in various ways at some point. So feel what you need to feel when you need to feel it. The key is not to get stuck in those negative emotions and let them run the show for you.
One of the reasons why negative emotions are so painful is they lead us to believe we are powerless and that our fate is out of our control. Thinking in this way can make you miserable and feel like you can't change your situation. But that is a lie, you can change your situation. When I was experiencing this in my own life and I wanted to shift out of letting negative feelings dominate, it took effort and awareness on my part. The negative thoughts were so prevalent that they ran like a broken record in the back of my mind. I didn't even know they were there most of the time and I just took them as truth. It wasn't until I made the effort to be aware of my thoughts that I could stop them and make the choice to think about what I wanted instead.
If you think about a train that's left the station and is moving full speed, that is how your negative thoughts might be moving right now. They are in motion, moving full speed ahead, and on repeat in your mind whether you notice them or not. Once you make the choice to be aware of these thoughts, you start to slow them down. They don't move as fast and they aren't on auto pilot just raging forward. You remind yourself those negative thoughts aren't true, you remind yourself of your new focus, you remind yourself you can do it. You do this again and again and again, hundreds or maybe thousands of times a day. I actually would have times where I would say "STOP!" in my mind when negative thoughts wanted to take over. Surprisingly, it worked to help me to shift and refocus on to what I wanted to create.
When you start to over come negative thinking, you will probably feel like nothing is happening or it's not working (it is, I promise you). Keep doing it. Then there will be that day where you notice a small shift in the direction you want to go. You keep focusing on what you want and then you notice more of a shift and then more and more. The train is now going in the opposite direction as it once was and it's picking up steam in the direction of the positive & towards what you do want. This feeling is amazing and there is nothing like it. It's a feeling of pure freedom! You prove to yourself that you can do it and you can change your mindset. It takes a little time to get things going in the right direction, but surprisingly not that long.
The key to overcoming negative thinking with visualization is practice and not giving up. Practice focusing on what you want. Practice thinking about the better outcome instead of the negative outcome. Practice dreaming and going after what you do want, not what you think you can have, but what you WANT!
How do I Start to Visualize?
There are many ways to do this and it might take some exploring on your part to do what works best for you. For this article, I'm going to recommend what has worked for me with the intention you can benefit from it as well. The best way I have found to make this work, and to make it last, is to start to take control of your mornings which will then lead to control of your days, your weeks, months and years. Let me explain what I mean.
Your morning sets the tone for your day. Think about how you feel when you get up, you pick up your phone, you start consuming negative news, you get a nasty email, or some other negative event happens. You lay in bed not wanting to face the day. The negative stimulus you received has started your day in a negative direction and that momentum will continue to build (like the example of the train above). Maybe you spill something on your clothes and you have to go change which makes you late. Or maybe you stub your toe or the dog pees on the floor. All of these things will continue to build anger and annoyance and you've barely been up for the day!
Now think about if, after you wake up, you wait for an hour or so to pick your phone up or consume any sort of news. You take your time. You spend maybe 10-15 minutes thinking about your intentions and how you want your day to go. You think about your goals that you have set and decide 1-2 things you can do today to take steps towards those goals. You think about those goals being easy and achievable and how they will move things in the direction you want your life to go. You may also think about how you want to interact with people, how you want to show up energetically for the day, what you are appreciating about your life and what you are celebrating. This is visualization. This is a drastically different experience than the example above and this is how you start to take control of your life. You CHOOSE what you focus on and you do it deliberately. The morning is the perfect time to do this as it will very easily set the tone for your day!
Closing Thoughts on Visualization
I think many people underestimate the impact of visualization. Speaking from experience, I can say that visualization is what led me to changing my life to the life I wanted to have. The only way there is a down side to visualization is if you are using it negatively. There is so much good that can come from visualization, here are a few benefits I noted:
- Visualization is free
- Anyone can learn to do it
- It can be done anywhere at any time
- You are free to design it how you want in a way that works for you
- There is no risk to you
- You have complete control over what you visualize
- Visualization helps bring the power back to you
- It's fun to think about the things that feel good to you!
If you want to change your life, visualization is completely within your power and one of the easiest ways to get started. What will you visualize today?
Get your free copy of My Personal Awakening Map to start creating the reality YOU desire! Visit https://sloanefreemont.podia.com/your-personal-awakening-map to learn more.
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