4 Tricks You Actually Want To Play On Your Mind

The Problem: Life can dish out a lot of challenges that impede our progress.

The Science: Science shows that visualization can help you overcome your obstacles.

The Solution: Don’t be your own worst enemy; envision your best self and future to make them a reality.

Are you having trouble reaching that dream goal? Surviving a stressful week? Or holding your relationships together? We’ve all been there. It’s that feeling that you’re stuck and can’t move forward no matter what you do.  What if I told you you could use your mind to get out of this limbo and onto success?

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. Another article about the wonders of meditation. But wait, before you stop reading, just hear me out. Maybe it is possible to think away your problems?

If you don’t trust me, take it from Jay Z, one of the many celebrities praising the power of your own mind. Jay Z wasn’t always a 21-time Grammy winner, a multimillionaire, and the CEO of a vast variety of well-known brands.  Growing up in the Marcys projects, Jay Z attributes his success to the Law of Attraction.  This young rapper used the power of his mind to translate his thoughts and materialize them into reality. He believes “you can speak things into existence.”

If you don’t trust a celebrity rapper, then listen to the science. Recently, scientists validated Jay-Z’s claim that positive imagery training can have powerful effects on your psyche. A study at Nord University found that self-guided positive imagery training can successfully combat negative emotions in our daily lives.  Participants partook in a 12-week program, including two guided group trainings, followed by a daily 15 to 20-minute practice at home. Participants not only saw themselves in a more positive light, but they felt that their lives had more meaning. The study’s results also suggest a possible increase in anti-anxiety and antidepressant transmitters in the participants’ brains.

What is this guided imagery meditation, you ask?  In guided imagery meditation, you take deep breaths until you fall into a deep state of relaxation. With your eyes closed, you visualize what you want to accomplish. Self-guided visualization comes in many forms. And each has its own benefits.

If you still are skeptical, here are 4 science-backed ways that guided imagery meditation can improve your life and happiness.

  1.     Tackle your Everest

Self-guided visualization can be used for goal achievement through the use of positive imagery of future events. In the first stage, you will want to create a vision board in your mind. In other words, you should figure out your goals and then think about what you need to do to achieve them. Then, in stage two, you should visualize the steps and the ultimate goal as if they have already been achieved.  Picturing success will encourage you to stay resilient and give you confidence when facing challenges.

  1.     Survive a Stressful Week

It can be difficult to regulate your emotions when the world is racing at 100 miles an hour. Take a moment to visualize tomorrow in a positive light to get your emotions primed for a good day.  To do this, visualize what’s to come with a focus on calmness, peace, and satisfaction.  You’ll be better prepared for whatever roadblocks you might hit.  

  1.     Cope with Trauma

Psycho-traumatic events can lead to substance abuse, personality disorders, depression, anxiety, or eating disorders if left untreated. Transform past psycho-traumatic events with visualization. To reap the benefits of this therapy, you have to visualize the environment before the trauma and then your positive ending.

  1.     Facilitate Friendships

Next time you have a fight with your friends, don’t write them off for good. Use visualization to improve your social interactions. For interpersonal conflicts in the past, try restoring the mental situation of the conflict. For future events, imagine a positive future social interaction. In both cases, make sure you experience empathy when you envision the scenes.  Through repetition, you’ll begin to see your friendship in a different light and have stronger social interactions in the future.

When life puts you on an emotional or stressful rollercoaster, take 15-20 minutes for yourself and imagine a more positive scenario.  Does that mean if you imagine yourself as a famous celebrity, you’ll wake up with a record deal? Sadly, no. However, with proper training and repetition, research suggests that self-guided visualization can increase your life’s purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction. With a little imagination and relaxation, you will be able to have stronger relationships, confront psycho-traumatic events, regulate your emotions, and accomplish your goals.

Sydney Hirschi
I'm a senior at Yale University, studying Economics. I'm a member of the Women's Varsity Swim Team. When I’m not in the pool or classroom, I love being active and in nature.
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