There are many strategies that can be used to help build positive thinking, confidence, and ultimately, to lead you to success. One such strategy is visualization. Visualization is used in many different types of practices, but it is commonly connected with guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, athletic enhancement, and of course, psychotherapy.
What is Visualization?
Visualization is a tool that enables a person to imagine themselves in their minds doing something well. Perhaps it is imagining in your mind that you are leading your basketball team to a win, successfully presenting your dissertation, being calm and focused while taking the LSAT, being calm and relaxed while on an airplane flight, or doing something new with ease, poise, and confidence.
The sky is the limit when it comes to how our minds can help us to better prepare for something that seems daunting, impossible, or scary.
How does visualization work?
Essentially, visualization is a very simple practice. It is what it sounds like. You picture yourself doing the thing that you are or were setting your mind to doing, or that is quickly approaching in your life, and imagine yourself doing it well or doing it in a particular way.
Most of the time, visualization is used to help prepare a person for something that seems difficult or that they experience anxiety or fear about. By placing your mind in that situation and imagining it going well, as well as imagining your reactions as being positive, you set the tone for the actual situation or experience when it arrives in reality.
One of the key aspects to visualization is repetition. You may be thinking that simply picturing something in your mind would not be effective to helping you succeed better. And you’re right! That is, if you only do it once or twice. With visualization, it is incredibly important that you repetitively go through the image in your mind along with affirming yourself in a positive way.
For example, if a dancer was preparing for her first recital and was feeling anxious, it would be helpful for her to imagine herself entering the stage and performing her routine without any anxiety, fear, and doing her routine with ease and grace. In addition to this, she can tell her self things such as “I am relaxed,” “I am calm,” “I know my routine,” “I have rehearsed and prepared for this,” “I trust my memory and muscle memory to help me perform my best.”
These positive self statements, along with the image of her performing at her best, will build up her confidence and ease anxieties over the upcoming recital. This works partly because she will already have imagined her self in the situation, which is simply another form of preparation just as dance rehearsals are. However, only doing this once may be of help, but it certainly won’t reach the level of benefit that visualization can and is meant to be produce.
If you are experiencing testing anxiety, visualization can similarly be used by imagining yourself sitting down for an exam and being calm, cool, collected, and having all of the information you studied easily coming to your mind without any mental cloudiness or emotional anxiety. If you would like to stop smoking, visualization can be part of the process that gets you to the point of finally quitting.
Refining the Skill of Visualization
Working with a therapist can help you learn how to do visualizations in a much more systematic and effective way. We can also help you to figure out what your goals are and where you would like to see yourself succeeding in a specific way so that the visualizations are more practical and relevant to your life.
Ultimately, visualizations are something you will be able to do on your own and eventually without any guidance. A large part of our practice approach is to get people on the right footing and then for them to go on and live their lives. With visualization, we see our role as helping you develop the skill set that you can apply for as long as you choose to do so.
We Can Help
At Tampa Therapy, we are trained to identify and help you learn how to recognize negative thinking and areas in your life that can benefit from visualization. The team at Tampa Therapy is here to help you make self-improvements, such as learning about and changing negative thinking and negative self-talk, while producing and providing you with beneficial, effective, and tangible skills.
We would love to assist you on your journey to growth and healing. We are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey. If you want things to be different, you have to change them. Give us a call or email us today to start the process of making important changes in your life.