As Halloween rolls around we can't help but get into the spirit (we don't mean the discount costume store spirit 👻). Over the next few weeks, we're exploring how meditation ties into everyone's favorite spooky holiday. Up first, exploring the power of our imagination.
Imagination can be a pretty powerful tool for your meditation practice, we just call it by a different name - visualization. It's like imagination x mindfulness The Collab.
During this exercise, your amygdala (the tiny part in the center of the brain responsible for the good ol' fight or flight response) has trouble distinguishing between something seen during a visualization and something actually happening in real time.
Visualization can be a great hack if you've have trouble sticking to your goals, losing your motivation or dealing with discouragement —- basically just experiencing being human (right?!). Of course, also cool if you just want to try out a new meditation technique.
Fun fact: Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps uses visualization before his competitions according to his coach Bob Bowman. Coach Bowman states “For months before a race, Michael gets into a relaxed state. He mentally rehearses for two hours a day in the pool. He sees himself winning. He smells the air, tastes the water, hears the sounds, sees the clock.” It's helped him become the most successful and decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 gold medals!
So how can you get some of that for yourself? Let's dive into a simple visualization exercise:
- Start as you would for any meditation — find a comfortable place to sit, slow your breath down, and let your eyes close if that's comfortable.
- If thoughts are still racing around draw your attention to anything happening in the moment — sounds, sensation, the breath you're currently on.
- Draw to mind an idea or affirmation that you want to address — I am balanced, I can handle my stress, I am deserving of great joy — whatever you need and stick with it.
- Imagine yourself in that space. What do you look like in that space? What does it feel like in the body? Are there any other details you can recognize?
- With each breath, stay with the visualization. Believe that this is your reality, and it will be 🤞🏽
Like most things in life, success with this technique takes practice and patience. Over time, you may notice your body and practice beginning to influence your mind. Consistency can result in a more optimistic outlook, an increase in motivation, and emotional stability. You may even realize a keener focus on goals and aspirations, relief from insomnia, and more.