A Stress Management Tool:
Pave Your Way to Success
The use of creative visualization left the Ashram, which was a place where the gurus used to go for their religious retreats and instruction in Hinduism, a long time ago. And thank goodness for that because today, creative visualization is used in corporate settings, in sports settings and for tons of people like you and I as a way to help people move along a desired life path.
When used in conjunction with other stress management techniques such as positive affirmations and of course, positive self-talk, creative visualization takes on even more enormous power as a tool for both individuals and groups doing business as a team. This is an extremely effective tool for anyone who would like to learn how to manage stress effectively and live a happier life.
Why and How Visualization Helps Create a Positive Attitude
Medical doctors tell us that any skill requires a neural pathway be formed in your brain. Some examples of this are looking at the time and practice it takes to learn how to consistently score a free throw in basketball or the same kind of work it takes to routinely feel comfortable giving a public presentation; situations where there is also a high level of pressure. Athletic coaches have discovered that by including visualization techniques they can improve the success rate of their athletes in a wide variety of actions and they’ve proven that with their scores.
It is particularly interesting to notice that simply through the process of imagining yourself accomplishing your goal, you then get the help you need to achieve that goal. Creative visualization increases your optimism towards any goal or objective and this gives you more power to see the actions which keep you in harmony with making your goal a concrete reality.
This quote from CNN Health explains it well in this quote “Optimism can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe in a positive outcome, you are more likely to act toward it.” Part of the reasoning behind this is that you can visualize a perfect performance thousands of times in your mind without experiencing any physical fatigue because you are laying down. However, your neural map is taking notes of everything that you visualize and that is what moves you towards your goal in a kind of “auto-pilot” simplicity.
There are several steps you can start working with today in order to accomplish this process within your own neural map.
For the purpose of demonstrating the steps, we will use the goal of you making a successful public presentation as our example. But understand that the same steps apply whether it’s your performance on a court or a stage, your dissertation, your job interview or any activity where you would like to ensure successful results of all of your capacities.
Step One: Dissociated Visualization: It’s Easier Than It Sounds! Positive Thoughts
Close your eyes and look at your objective from a third person perspective. See yourself as a spectator would see you, giving your important presentation without getting flustered. Being part of the audience, you see how others are responding to the speaker (you) with nods and smiles. Everyone is attentive to what you are saying, your notes are in order, and your PowerPoint presentation is attractive and timed perfectly. You see yourself (from the spectator’s point of view) speaking smoothly and fluently from beginning to end. The audience applauds and moves eagerly into the Q and A session.
Positive result: Your brain (neural map) has now begun to lock into place the skills necessary for you to project this effect and feeling upon the spectators of your presentation.
Step Two: Associated Visualization Leads to Positive Thinking
Now see, or creatively visualize yourself as the presenter. Feel your confidence and surge of positive energy as you step up to the microphone! Imagine the notes in your hands, the projector next to you at the right distance, the lighting is correct and everyone is sitting attentively. You take a few deep, relaxing breaths and start speaking. Your tone is firm, smooth and fluent. Your audience laughs at the jokes you’ve prepared for them. They are clearly enjoying your talk and responding to you in a positive manner. You wrap up your speech confidently and answer questions without hesitation, accept the applause and step off the stage successfully.
Positive result: You have just trained your mind (neural map) to focus on all of the positive energy that you will emanate during your speech. Your actions will now find new focus and new inner guidance towards fulfilling that which your mind has now set as the desired result, your successful presentation.
Step Three: Intensified Associated Visualization Provides Stress Relief
In this phase you’re going to expand upon your second exercise. Take it to the deepest level of observation that you can think of, remembering the 5 senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.
In this case notice the way sound carries in the room. You might hear a cough or two, hear the rustling of papers or other common sounds. Do you tend to chew gum or a mint right before making a public presentation? Well then, taste the flavor of the gum or the mint. If you are familiar with the room you will be using, you can imagine yourself standing in that space. How does the carpet feel to the touch of the soles of your shoes?
Your goal is to make the whole experience familiar, comfortable, and solidly imprinted in your neural map so that when you do get there, your stress level is so low that you are able to tap into this enormous reserve of positive energy you naturally build up just doing this exercise.
Positive result: You have solidified your neural map and your auto-pilot function now goes out to bring in everything that is conducive to your achieving your objective.
Learning How To Manage Stress In Your Daily Life Routines: Applying Creative Visualization
If you find that you experience tension or stress every time you perform a certain task, then take note of the fact that creative visualization has the power to alleviate that stress before it starts. Practice going through these steps, starting with just a few minutes for each step. As creative visualization becomes more and more of a habit, you will find it easier to stay focused on the positive picture of you accomplishing your goals a lot more easily.
Here is a diagram to help illustrate how this process works. You can double click it to read the process up close:
As researchers on creative visualization at Vanderbilt University advise, there is no perfect right way or wrong way to practice creative visualization, so try practicing your use of this great tool in a number of different ways. You can try creative visualization practice while lying down, while sitting in your favorite chair, with your eyes open, with your eyes closed, in silence, with the stereo on. What’s important is that you practice it. Then with practice, you will gain experience in what suits you best.
It’s quite normal if at first, things like the traffic outside, your neighbor’s barking dog or even the usually pleasant sound of the birds chirping, tend to enter your mind before the sounds you are now choosing to pre-create by living your ideal situation before it happens. That’s ok, just don’t give up on it. Persist with these steps and you will find it easier and easier to block out all of the sounds which don’t pertain to your creative visualization exercise.
How Do You Stop Worrying? Use Creative Visualization
“Why spend time worrying about
what you don’t want” ?
You can also look at it this way: how much time do you spend worrying about the outcome of making that presentation, giving that dissertation, or going to that job interview? A friend of mine said something that’s very true and I’d like to share it with you: “Why spend time worrying about what you don’t want” ?, which seems to sum it up in a nutshell….makes a lot of sense, too.
I don’t know about you, but most often, when I spend time “wondering about” the outcome of any given situation, I don’t always tend to see it in the best light. Often, spending time “wondering” is what opens the gateway for fear because wondering can easily turn to worrying. Creative visualization is a tool that will help you to eliminate the fear and help get you into the action of doing what you want to do. By living your actions of accomplishment first within your mind’s neural map, you have built-in images of relaxation toward your goals, instead of fear or tension.
Do you ever wonder about how some moment in time will turn out, then find yourself imagining the worst possible scenarios? I think we all do this from time to time, so this is why taking action to set up a positive path for your mind to follow will help you so much. It will kick in just when you need it!
Begin Practicing Your New Stress Management Skills Today!
Action has always been and might always be one of the best sources you’ve got within you to defeat fear, so take positive action and let creative visualization help you by keeping you focused, inside your mind and outside by leading you to the right actions to take and the right way that you would like for your 5 senses to react. With practice you will be able to face even your most difficult challenges with equanimity, peace and vitality.
Here’s to your creative visualization success!
P.S. Be sure to check out: How To Manage Stress 101: The 5 BEST Ways To Ruin Your Career Fast! because a part from the comical twist, you’ll find some people who used creative visualization to create success, and it might just surprise you! !
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