Freezing during a presentation.
Stumbling through an interview.
Blanking on an exam.
It’s easy to get carried away with Hollywood-level visualizations of upcoming events going poorly. However, our minds are powerful resources that can be harnessed to change our imaginative storylines and flip to the positive. Through mental exercises like meditation, we can practice positive visualizations that help us tackle challenges with more optimism.
In the meditation below, we will use a two-step process to harness a positive mindset.
The first step will invite you to play with positive visualizations in general. You can close your eyes and imagine your “happy place.” Quite simply, this is any place that feels good. It might be somewhere that you know very well, some place you’ve never been, or even a fictional place. This is your very own happy place and is unique to you.
Take your time to mentally explore the details of this happy place.
- What does it look like?
- Who is there?
- What sounds do you hear?
- What do you taste?
- How do you feel when you’re there?
Picture the look on your face as you mentally visit this happy place. Take your time enjoying the scene and savoring the calm, openness, and joy that you may feel as you mentally explore this wonderland.
The second step of this meditation allows you to transfer the skill of positive visualization from the happy place to an upcoming challenge. Our minds are usually very skilled at imagining what can go wrong in the future, but now we have a chance to imagine everything going well. You’ll be guided through an opportunity to imagine your challenge unfolding beautifully, exactly as you’d hope.
Similar to the first step, picture the details of the scene.
- What are you saying?
- What are others saying to you?
- How do you look and feel as this moment unfolds?
Try your best to bring qualities of curiosity, kindness, and playfulness to this meditation.
As is often said in the world of psychology, “what we practice grows stronger.”
This exploration is not meant to gloss over the importance of significant events like exams or interviews. Rather, it is an opportunity to practice positivity in an effort to grow and strengthen our ability to meet challenges with greater ease and less stress. Enjoy this mental movie-like journey.
(Music Credit:“Chris Collins, https://indiemusicbox.com”)
Hello, this is Laura, and in this meditation, we will be using the power of our visualizing mind as a coping tool for those of us who are concerned or worried about any future event.
You can begin the meditation by finding a comfortable position. You can sit upright, you can lay down, you can even stand if that’s most comfortable.
Invite the eyes to gently close and begin to turn the attention inward with some deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, fully filling the lungs and the chest, and a nice slow exhale. Releasing, relaxing any tension in the body as you exhale. In just a couple of more times, deeply inhaling, filling the chest, filling the body and a longer, slower exhale. At the end of the next exhale, just releasing any control of the breath, letting the breath fall back into its own rhythm. Your breath knows exactly how to breathe, no need to control it.
As the breath begins to settle, you can allow and invite the body to settle as well.
Soften the muscles in the face and unclenching the jaw, inviting the shoulders to relax down and back. Inviting some softening to the arms and hands and relaxing the belly.
Noticing the sensations of the breath in the belly, seeing if you can release a little bit of tension with each exhale. Noticing your sit bones, feeling into the weight on the legs.
Noticing where your feet connect to the surface beneath you. Feeling how the earth comes up to meet the feet holding you here. This gentle hug of gravity grounding you. You are safe.
Now we will begin to work with the visualizing mind and creating images in the mind to create a sense of well-being. We will begin by creating our own happy place in the mind.
This is just an experiment, so I invite you to be playful and open with this as best as you can.
Begin to imagine a place that feels really good. Where do you enjoy being? Somewhere where you feel joy, content, simply happy. Maybe it’s a beach, maybe it’s a mountain, maybe it’s a city.
Where do you feel happy? This can be a place that you have been to, or maybe one in your imagination, or perhaps a combination of the two. What do you see here? Who is with you?
Taking a moment to allow this to really come into focus. What or who do you see close to you? What or who do you see in the distance? Is it daytime? Is it nighttime? What sounds do you hear in this happy place? What sounds do you hear coming from the left side, and sounds from the right? Are there any sounds from up above? What might you smell in your happy place? Maybe it’s your favorite food, a warm cup of coffee, taking a moment to imagine the smells that are present.
And is there anything you’re tasting? What foods or drinks would be included in your happy place? Maybe there is a taste in the air, like the salt air at the beach.
Taking a moment to really indulge here. Really getting a clear image using all of your senses. Integrating it into the mind’s eye. Mentally looking up, mentally looking behind you.
What expression do you have on your face in this happy place? How do you feel? How does your body feel in this happy place?
If you like, you can go back to the visualization making any adjustments. This is your exploration. So just enjoying it, soaking it all in.
I’ll give you some time and silence now to just indulge in this mental vacation of being in your happy place, in your mind’s eye.
Great. Now we’re going to move toward using what we’ve practiced on something that is coming up in the near future and using this skill of positive visualization.
So see if you can think about an upcoming circumstance that you are a bit nervous about. Maybe you’re not sure how it will go. Maybe you are taking a test or have a conversation that’s important that’s coming up. Maybe you’re a little uneasy about how a presentation might go.
When we’re nervous about these occasions, we tend to visualize them going in a negative way. We tend to visualize what might go wrong.
But we can try to visualize them going right. Just like we created that positive happy place.
So as you imagine something that is coming up that you’re uncertain about,
begin to picture the details of it. Begin to imagine what it would be like for it to be going really well. Where are you in this event? When it’s going really well, who is there?
Are you speaking? What expression is on your face? Are you smiling? How do you feel in your body as this event is unfolding so beautifully exactly as you would like? Do you feel very grounded and confident? Do you feel at ease? Who do you see around you and what are their expressions? What sounds do you hear?
Take your time being playful with this, and if at any point the mind wanders off into other thoughts or anything negative about this event unfolding, you can always come back to softening the body, feeling your feet on the ground, and then try returning again to the visualization of this occasion going really well.
Taking a moment to notice how that went for you.
How do you feel?
As we exit the meditation, you can take a few deep breaths again. Exhaling, releasing any lingering tension in the body. Feeling the weight of the body. Begin to invite a little bit of movement back into the fingers. Wiggling the fingers, wiggling the toes. Inviting a small smile to the corners of the mouth, a small smile to the inside of the mouth, to seeing how that feels and when you’re ready allowing the eyes to open.
Thank you very much for your practice today.
Remembering that you can always use the power of the visualizing mind to picture
your happy place or imagine any upcoming event that you may be a little worried about,
you can imagine it going really well.
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