Creative visualization is the practice of imagining the world as you wish it to be, and thereby changing it through the power of your mind. It is one of the major concepts underlying the theory of positive thinking. Positive thinking and creative visualization arose from the New Thought movement of the late 19th Century.
Among the first Americans to use the technique of creative visualization was a man named Wallace Wattles. Wattles wrote the book “The Science of Getting Rich” in which he recommends the use of creative visualization as a way for people to achieve their goals. This practice wasn’t entirely new then, either, as it is espoused by Hindu Monistic theory.
Creative visualization is often used by athletes to increase their level of performance. The most famous and important study regarding its effectiveness in this regard was done by the Russians. Four groups of Olympic level athletes were grouped according to their method of training and studied. The groups were divided as follows:
Group 1: Athletes in this group trained solely using physical methods.
Group 2: Athletes in this group divided their time using physical methods for 75% of the time and 25% of the time using mental methods.
Group 3: Athletes in this group divided their time using physical methods of half the time and the other half of the time, they used mental methods.
Group 4: Athletes in this group dedicated most of their time, 75% of it to training using mental methods and 25% using physical methods.
The results of the study showed that the athletes in Group Four performed the best out of all of the groupings, demonstrating that mental training is more effective in increasing output than physical training.
Further research has shown that the human neurological system cannot tell the difference between a real experience and a highly detailed imaginary one. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon makes note of this in his 1960 book “Psycho-Cybernetics.”
Accordingly, you can achieve highly detailed imaginary constructs in your own mind that can fool your own body into believing that it is experiencing an actual event rather an imaginary one. The goal of such an experience is to open your mind to the possibilities that exist and to condition you to accept the opportunities that come your way.
Of course, changing your reality though the power of creative visualization requires practice. This is because simply picturing yourself achieving your goal is not enough. You need to be able to imagine this occurrence using all five of your senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. All of these must be engaged for creative visualization to be effective.
◄Creative Visualization Exercises
Creative visualization requires that you visualize the things you desire in detail and with all five senses. To aid you in developing your visualization skills, practice these visualization exercises on a daily basis. The more practice you get, the easier visualizing will be.
Find an image of a scene that you find pleasing. Commit the scene to memory and then close your eyes and try to picture the image in your head. How close to the real image did you get? The more you practice this exercise, the greater your visual recall will become.
The exercise introduces the elements of relaxation since one of the key components to creative visualization is being in relaxed state of mind. Close your eyes and take four deep breaths, in and out, in an out.
Imagine that you are lying on a warm tropical beach. Feel the grains of sand against your skin, feel the warmth of the sun and the soft sighing breeze as it caresses your face. Smell the tangy scent of the ocean air. Gaze into the ocean. Notice how the color of the water changes from a light aquamarine to an almost lavender blue as your eye travels from the shore to the horizon.
You turn your gaze skyward and you notice the cerulean blue of the sky, its color made more intense by the billowy white clouds that pass above. You swing your gaze around and you notice the tall graceful trunks of the palm trees that surround your little beach oasis. Their big leaves sway gently in the breeze.
You should feel relaxed and mellow following this exercise. The more practice you get with this, the easier it will be to do.
The next exercise is lengthy and introduces another person into your visions: a loved one.
Start by closing your eyes and breathing in and out deeply four times. In and out, in and out.
Imagine yourself in your home, in your bedroom. You notice that a large oak door has appeared on one wall. A glowing white light surrounds this door and as you open it, this light surrounds you, gilding you in its glow.
You step through the door and discover that you are now in a park.
Footsteps sound to your left and you turn your head to see your loved one walking toward you, a smile of greeting on his or her face. You walk toward him or her and wrap your arms around him or her in a loving embrace. Can you feel the warmth of his or her body against yours? Can you smell his or her unique scent ? You pull away from each other and hand in hand, you walk through the grassy meadow. You can hear the rustling sound your feet make as you move through the grass. Soon, you come upon a winding, tree lined path. The tree shadows on the ground create a pattern of light and shadow that moves as a soft breeze moves through their branches. You can feel that breeze against your face. It lifts your hair and you pause to look at your loved one. You squeeze his or her hand. Can you feel the weight of his or her hand in yours?
You and your loved one take the path and you take a moment to look at your surroundings.
Can you see the fat brown squirrel with the bushy tail on the tree trunk some feet away? Can you hear the chittering noise it makes as it calls to its companions?
Can you feel the breeze sighing soft against your face? Can you hear the rustling sound of the tree branches above your head?
You and your beloved continue your stroll and soon, you come upon a white marble bench. You both sit down. Can you feel the coolness of the marble against the seat of your jeans? Your beloved says something funny. What is it? The sound of your laughter rings delightfully in the air. You gaze softly at your loved one and he or she raises a hand to caress your hair. Can you feel his or her fingers running through your hair? How do you feel?
You rise from your seat and, once again hand in hand, you and your beloved continue down the path. It veers down slope and off to the left. Sunlight appears in shafts through the canopy of leaves above, dappling the mossy ground at your feet. Did you see the gray rabbit bounding across the path?
The path soon opens up into a lavender filled field. Notice how the blue flowers contrast with the green leaves around you. Smell the cool and calming scent of the lavender that surrounds you.
You notice a small wooden hut at the edge of the garden. You want to explore the hut but your loved one wants to stay a little longer in the lavender field. That’s fine…you’ll see him or her again soon.
You walk to the hut and open the door to find yourself in a very familiar place: you’re back in your room. You smile, happy to be home. Open your eyes when you’re ready.
Remember to practice these exercises on a daily basis. Just like any other exercise, repetition over a regular interval of time will strengthen your ability to creatively imagine the life you desire.
Creative visualization may seem like a new concept, but it is in fact a time honored way to change your world. Most commonly used by athletes, it is a technique that can be adapted to any purpose.