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What is Creative Visualization? Techniques and Therapeutic Application

Creative visualization is a cognitive process that involves creating positive and pleasant images in the mind. It has been used in psychological therapy to treat a number of problems, such as stress and anxiety. It has also been used to enhance personal development, self-esteem, self-confidence and positive attitude.

Depending on the objective to be achieved with creative visualization, the procedure will vary. In this article, we will focus on the generation of mental images for the achievement of personal goals and desires. We will detail what it consists of and how to carry it out properly.

What does creative visualization consist of?

Creative visualization is a cognitive technique that uses one’s imagination to recreate what one desires in life. In this case, the goal is the achievement of our desires and goals.

You may have carried out this exercise unconsciously and habitually. But it is very likely that you focus on the shortcomings, limitations or difficulties of a particular situation, which interferes with the process. Also, for the technique to work, it is important to do it consistently and methodically.

Generally speaking, creative visualization involves using our imagination to create a clear representation of something we want to achieve. We then continue to focus on that idea, image or feeling constantly, transmitting positive energy to it until it becomes an objective reality.

Some specific examples are imagining ourselves in a new home, with a job that makes us happy, maintaining a healthy relationship or simply seeing ourselves serene, happy and full of love.

Steps to Creative Visualization

Creative visualization is an activity as simple as daydreaming. But it has its complexities, as it involves commitment, perseverance and the ability for positive auto-suggestion. Here’s how to practice it successfully.

1. Define your goal

Foremost, it is important that you know what you want to achieve. This desire can pertain to any area of life, such as a job, a house, a relationship, a change in your personality, greater prosperity, a better state of mind, being healthier or in better physical condition.

It is also essential that the goals you set for yourself are realistic and depend on you. For example, it does not make sense to devote your energy and time to imagine that you have won the lottery; this desire is not sensible, and it is not in your hands.

2. Create a clear image

Once you have defined what you want to achieve, create a representation or mental image of the object or situation exactly as you want it. You should think of it in the present tense, as if it already exists. Also, try to include as many details as possible. Who are you with? What is the space around you like? What emotions do you feel?

Before you do the visualization, ideally you should settle down in a quiet place and be relaxed. To do this, you can use techniques that relieve tension in your body. Then close your eyes, breathe deeply, create the mental image and concentrate on everything that your imagination generates.

3. Practice it everyday

It is not about doing the exercise once and that’s it. To get the results you want, it is important to go frequently to the visualization, because it is the way how you will get your mind used to move there. That said, it is advisable to do this practice at least 2 times a day, between 10 and 15 minutes.

It is important to maintain a carefree and serene approach. That is, do not feel too forced to achieve the goal or devote more energy to it than necessary.

4. Transmit positive energy

In the visualization, think of your goal in a positive and encouraging way. To do this, imagine yourself achieving it or receiving what you want. Accompany this with positive affirmations:

  • “I am capable of achieving what I set out to achieve.”
  • “I am getting better and better at what I do”.
  • And, “I am focused and have the time to achieve it”.

While you are making these affirmations, get rid of any doubts or misgivings that may appear at that moment. Get into the habit of cultivating the feeling that what you want is real and possible. This way, you will be able to substitute negative ideas for positive ones, which directly influence attitudes and behaviors.

Continue with this process until you reach your goal or until you stop desiring it. Keep in mind that goals can change before you achieve them, so don’t try to prolong it longer than you should.

Tips for effective creative visualization

At first, choose goals that you think are possible to achieve in the immediate future. This way you won’t have too much negative resistance, and you can boost your sense of success in the process of learning the technique. Later, when you have more practice, you can set more complex and difficult goals.

Focus on this series of tips to enhance your positive visualization routine:

  • Behave as if: in addition to the visualization exercise, you can trick your mind by performing behaviors or small gestures as if you have already achieved what you wanted. For example, if it is a job, you can start getting up every day at the time you would get up if you had that job or dress as if you were going there.
  • Focus only on you: it is normal for us to want to interfere with the goals of others, especially our loved ones. But this technique is only effective for working on your own goals, which is enough. If you manage to be happy, you are helping those around you.
  • Be constant: the key to success is to be constant in what you propose, despite the difficulties. You may encounter obstacles that make you think you are moving away from your goal. In this case, face them and show that you are above them.
  • Keep an open mind: this is essential to be able to adapt and manage life’s changes. It is also fundamental to identify opportunities in a more efficient way.

Therapeutic application of creative visualization

The effectiveness of this technique in the treatment of some conditions, such as stress, has been proven. That is why some therapists include it in their interventions. In psychological therapy, this technique provides the patient with the necessary tools to face difficulties or problems of everyday life.

In this case, the process is guided by a mental health professional, which helps the person to replace those images or thoughts that perpetuate their current situation.

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