While doing research for this article, I found that there are two kinds of people who want to learn how to visualize images in your mind. The first kind are people who can imagine pictures in their head and want to use that skill to improve their performance and reach their goals. The second kind are people who can’t imagine any pictures at all, who may suffer from a condition called ‘aphantasia‘.
This article is for people who can imagine pictures and want to use visualization to improve their well being. I’m able to imagine pictures in my mind, and I’ve always assumed that other people can do that as well. However, it turns out there are people who can’t imagine images, and require specific training and exercises to build that skill from the bottom. This article is not for these people.
Visualization is the ability to imagine images in your mind. You can use this skill for entertainment and relaxing purposes, such as imagining the place you visited on your most recent vacation. It’s a skill you can use to recall memories and past experiences, to relive the feelings or learn from mistakes. What we focus on in this article is using visualization to build a future – to turn your dreams into a reality.
The benefit of visualizing is that you can improve the quality of your life in all areas. There are tools and techniques you can use to help you visualize with efficiency. I will share about the tools I use in a different article. In this article, I want to share about how to visualize images in your mind from the beginning, and some possible obstacles you may find along the way.
Table of Contents
1. Choose a Place With Minimum Disturbance
Visualizing requires a fair amount of concentration, especially when you want to visualize a high level of detail. Trying to do visualization in a place that’s crowded with people or with noise isn’t impossible, but it becomes difficult. When you want to visualize, find a place with the least amount of distraction and disturbances so you can concentrate. You may have to arrange with your family (if you have kids) to give you some time alone during your visualization session.
I live in a place that’s relatively quiet, and I spend a lot of time at home. I do a very brief visualization immediately after I wake up to reinforce the message that I have a healthy body. I feel that visualizing combined with positive affirmations does have some effect on my health. I also visualize about what I am going to do that day, and it helps me get a rough image of how the day will proceed.
A peaceful place is important because you may not be able to concentrate for more than a short period (especially if you’re just starting practicing visualization). Our mind is a muscle and if we don’t train it to sustain a thought or image for a long time, then it won’t be able to do it. Our mind is easily disturbed by distractions that take us away from the image we want to see in our heads. A quiet place allows you to calmly return to your visualization whenever you get distracted by other thoughts.
2. Find an Image and Visualize the Image
Find an image that represents what you want to achieve. If your goal is to own an item, then find an image of that item (whether it’s a new laptop, a home, or other material possession). Use images that are the closest to what you want in real life. For example, if your goal is to own a laptop, visit your nearest store and take a photo of the laptop you want to buy. If your goal is building a happy family, find the happiest picture of your family.
Look at the picture, and pay attention to the details. Then close your eyes and build the picture in your imagination. Practice to fill in as much detail as you can from the picture. It will take several sessions of visualization to be able to imagine a detailed image in your mind. You can try it using simple images first before moving on to more complex images with a higher level of detail.
3. Fill In the Details
Visualizing an image you see represents the present. You can use visualization to imagine the future by adding in details that aren’t part of the image yet. Details of the future require more imagination to see because it hasn’t happened in your reality yet. On top of that, if you don’t believe the details you see, it becomes difficult to maintain the visualization for a length of time.
One goal I have is to have a house. My wife and I once saw a house in a residential area on top of a hill and she said that she wants to live in a nice house like the one we saw. Imagining the house is simple, but I haven’t added the details that makes that house our house. I can add in details such as the plants in the garden, the furniture inside the house, the interior design, and how many people are living in it.
Filling in the details of your visualization helps you to see what it would take to make it happen. You probably don’t know yet how to make it happen, but at least you already have an image of where you want to go. Ideas and opportunities will come your way, and you will be able to identify them because you already saw them in your mind.
The three steps above help you to visualize images in your mind. You probably will only be able to do it for a short time in the beginning. With practice, you can do longer visualizations that have a higher amount of detail, clarity, and vividness. There are tools you can use to help you practice visualization. One of the tools I use is the Thought Elevators videos and audios. They don’t have specific images, but they can help push you in the general direction of a high quality life.