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Visualization Exercises: learn how to visualize. The following easy visualization exercises will help to improve your visualization skills. Many people believe that they can't visualize. They actually can, but they need to do some visualization exercises in order to learn how to visualize better. With a bit of practice you can learn to visualize anything easily and quickly.
This page lists some graduated exercises to teach you how to visualize, and shows how to use visualization techniques for meditation and relaxation.
Guided visualization is simple. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and begin to use these visualization exercises to increase your visual imagination.
Some people are better than others at visualizing. Some people believe that they cannot visualize, but what they are actually experiencing is the inability to visualize on demand. Everyone has experience of dreaming, and dreams are just visualizations, so the ability is there. You just need to develop it. If you cannot visualize colors or you only get words or feelings don't feel you have failed or that you have to try extra hard. Just use a visualization technique that allows your mind to drift and see whatever your mind lets you see.
Everyone can learn to visualize. For example, look straight ahead and then close your eyes. How much can you recall of what you have just been looking at? Most people can picture very little, but everyone gets better with practice. Repeatedly opening and shutting the eyes and trying to visualize more of the scene will prove to you that practice does increase the ability to recall the image and that you can train yourself to visualize.
Imagine you are in a kitchen somewhere.
On a bench is a basket of lemons. You reach out and select a ripe yellow lemon. You feel the weight of the lemon in your hand..., you slide your fingers over the smooth waxy skin... feel the dimpled texture... You lift the lemon to your face and breathe in that lemony smell... and then you slice the lemon open. As the bright yellow flesh is exposed you see the juice run out... a lovely lemony citrus aroma fills the room. You cut a slice and put it in your mouth. You bite down on it .... the juice runs over your tongue... your mouth fills with the taste of lemon juice...
Most people will find their mouth watering after reading the Eating a Lemon visualization exercise. This is because in order to make sense of what you hear or read your brain has to retrieve the memories - the images, smells, textures - that the Lemon Visualization brings to mind. The experience of eating a lemon is something that generates powerful physical reactions. Recalling eating the lemon recalls the distinctive reaction, and your body responds with a conditioned reflex. The Eating a Lemon visualization exercise demonstrates that words undoubtedly do have a physical effect on the body.
The main visualization technique used in therapy is dissociation. Dissociation allows you to distance yourself from your problems, but needs the ability to visualize in order to work. Association means experiencing something as if you are there, seeing it through you own eyes, experiencing it directly and immediately, as opposed to Dissociation, experiencing something as if you are an observer, looking at it happening from the outside.
In the lemon exercise, you were Associating into the experience. You were experiencing the taste of the lemon in your mouth, the feel of it in your hands. That is one way of experiencing things. The other way of visualizing is Dissociation, seeing something happen as if you were a detached, independent observer. Association is immediate, personal, emotional, involved. Dissociation is distant, detached, unemotional, calculated. You need to learn the difference and to decide whether you want your visualization to be associated or dissociated. They have different purposes. If you want to feel the emotion, get excited, fire yourself up - you use Association techniques. If you want to distance yourself from an emotion, to get in control of a situation, to feel calm about a threat - you use Dissociation techniques.
If you think you can't visualize and you want to increase your visualization ability, then you need to do some visualization exercises. You should aim to do a series of exercises going from simple single images to increasingly complex visualizations.
For example, to train your visualization skills try imagining a flower, a coin, a cold bottle against your cheek, the feel of stroking a cat, the sound of the national anthem. As you get better try adding movement and action to the visualization. It will come with practice.
Close your eyes, and imagine a circle. In this visualization exercise you can imagine it floating in front of you, or maybe think about it lying on a table, or the floor. When you have something, become aware of what you know about it - its co lour, size, thickness and so on. The more things you know about it, the better your natural visualization skills. If you can that easily, move on to the next exercises.
If you only get a vague feeling of 'circleness' that's OK. Try developing that by imagining making the circle with your arms, or creating a circle of people. If you get a stronger response by doing that it is likely that you are one of those rare people who experience the world kinesthetically, by touch and feelings, rather that by images.
That's OK too - it just means that you will end up with two good ways of experiencing the world. You should then just accept that it will take a bit longer, but you will be able to visualize eventually. Start with imagining a line, or something like a line, a rope or a stick. Then imagine the line bending. Then bend it the other way. Then get it to bend all the way round into a circle. Then change the circle into a triangle, then a square and then have fun changing to other shapes, getting them to rotate, to fold, to twist, to fill with color and so on.
Put yourself somewhere comfortable, close your eyes and relax. Then visualize a blackboard, or a sandy beach, or a wide blue sky, and imagine a big circle getting drawn. Then imagine a capital 'A' being drawn inside the circle. You can draw it yourself, or you might choose to just watch it appear. Then the 'A' is erased and a 'B' is written inside the circle. Continue wiping out the last letter and writing the next letter un till they are changing automatically. (Once that happens you will probably feel a little strange, because you will have entered a light hypnotic trance. It really doesn't take very much).
Continue this exercise. Stay in the relaxed state and imagine you are lying back looking up at the sky. Visualize a cloud appearing in the sky and then get it to move off to one side. Then gradually imagine a series of clouds moving across the sky until they are out of sight. Then while you are still entranced, visualize one small cloud in the middle of the sky, and allow your mind to go free. Watch as the cloud changes into something, don't try to force it or think of anything in particular, just allow whatever happens to happen. You should begin to experience different shapes in the cloud, and your subconscious mind may then be drawn away to something suggested by the images in the cloud, and you will be visualizing automatically. This visualization exercise shows that visualization is actually a form of self hypnosis and is also the basis of Affirmations.
First imagine the national flag. See it on a roof or on a flagpole, and then imagine how it will look if a wind blows on it, and then increase the force of the wind. Then imagine the wind moving trees, grass, bits of paper flying about.
Allow yourself to relax. Imagine your are floating high up in the sky. You don't have to see anything, just imagine yoursel flying, floating, suspended in the air. Then imagine you are looking down at houses and rooftops. Visualize what your own house might look like from the air. Then imagine floating down and you are outside your own front door. Imagine going up to it, see the color, what it is made of, see the parts of the door, panels, glass, the handle, or a door knob... You can go and have a look at the real door, check how accurate you were.
When you get more practiced at visualization you can repeat this exercise, and visualise the door opening... and go in and imagine floating through all the rooms.
work at seeing your face reflected in a pool. Let it come and go until you can see yourself clearly. then imagine you are standing behind you looking at you looking at your reflection in the pool. Then imagine you are standing to one side, seeing the reflection in the water and the side of your face at the same time. Then imagine moving further away and seeing yourself looking in the pool. Then imagine watching yourself moving away from the pool and doing something else.
see yourself working on something.... at home or in a room somewhere.... on your own... First you look through a tiny crack in the curtain or blind... and you you can only see... a hand, maybe.... then the gap opens and you can see a bit more... then a bit more.... until you can see the whole of you and what you are working on... and then the interior like you were standing there watching. Then increase the difficulty... see yourself working on the thing, but reflected in a mirror..... so that you can see both images at the same time
see yourself growing from a child to a teenager... visualize every detail of how you are dressed... what your hair looks like... see yourself going to school.... imagine you are a reporter following the life of that teenager growing up. See what that reporter would see, through her eyes. Then see yourself watching the reporter watching you. Visualize seeing words in the notebook.
but from the vantage point of someone standing on the finishing line, and commentate on the race as it develops. Watch as you get closer.... stand there as the image gets bigger.... comment on the sweat and how that runner is breathing... keep looking as the image gets so big you can look right into her eye.
Then invent some visualizations of your own. Imagine yourself on the TV news holding up a cup. And then wind the movie back to the race. See the finish, then the event, then the warm up, then the dressing.... and so on.
You need to practice, practice and exercise the visualization ability. It will work. You might need some patience but it will come naturally. Everyone can visualize. We know this because everyone can dream. And that is pure visualization.
This is a longer and more complex visualization technique that goes beyond simple guided imagery. Focusing is a powerful visualization technique used as a way to get into the emotional part of your life, to identify and remove emotional or psychological blocks.
Find somewhere quiet
Relax and close your eyes.
Take a deep breath and let it go noisily.
Do it again
Take another breath and just let it go gently, but as you do shrug your shoulders and let your arms relax.
Take another breath and let it go gently, and as you do allow you arms and legs to get heavy.
Allow your breathing to settle and focus on each out breath.
Just become aware of the breath coming out.
Focus on your breath, as it comes in gently and goes out gently.
Focus your awareness on the passage of the air as it passes inside your head and throat.
Now, count to yourself as you breathe. With each breath out, say 'twenty', then 'nineteen'.... and so on As each number arrives think of it in a different colour, or texture, or style.... As each breath goes out... imagine the number moving further away... As you think of each number imagine you are getting loose and limp and letting go more and more...
Then with the next breath the next number starts further away and as you breath out gets further away still... Keep doing that until you just cannot think of the next number... and the numbers are too far away.... if you get down to 'one' then start again at 'twenty' but use a different style of number, maybe made of cloth this time... and continue to imagine each number getting more distant.
At some point you will find you are totally relaxed and don't care about the numbers... you just can't think of the next one....
You are now in the Focusing State....
Now allow your mind to drift to a problem, or some incident... or whatever you choose to think about. Allow your mind to drift over the various parts until you get a feeling, a tension, some sort of emotional reaction.
It is quite possible that you will be jerked out of the State by the emotion, the fear.
That is OK.
Remember, nothing in your own mind can ever harm you.
Give yourself a few moments and then go back to the breathing and repeat the procedure. At some point you will find part of you relaxed and part of you feeling the negative emotion.
You will not be able to do this instantly. Do not give up if you cannot immediately get this to work.
You will have to practice it.
Many people use visualization because they cannot relax. This is the method that will get you to relax.
What is happening for people who say they cannot visualize is often that as they begin to relax the anxiety creeps out of its box and causes them to be afraid and they snap right out of relaxation again so they never actually get to relax.
When you are in the flow State the first thing you will notice is that the negative feeling is not actually all that bad once you mentally acknowledge and accept that it is there and has a right to be there.
It is a legitimate part of you and has to be acknowledged.
Then what you do is get curious about the emotion, the tingle, the feeling, the fear, whatever it is that you are feeling. Just become aware of it... of its shape, colour, however you experience it.
Then ask your mind to allow you to have a image of that feeling, fear.... etc.
Just wait, and something will appear.
You will know it when you get it.
Then start to play with the image. It might be a memory. Doesn't matter. Allow the question to drift into your mind 'what would be fun to have happen to this image?' Do not force anything. Just let your mind roam over possibilities, and something will seem just right.
Try that something, allow it to change color lour, change shape, whatever. At some point you might find that it just does not want to change any more. That point is where you ask 'what is it for? What is the purpose of this thing?' And you wait for an answer.
You ask the thing, not yourself.
Just allow you mind to be blank and it will come to you.
If you find yourself thinking in words and worrying about whether you are doing it right then you have left the State and need to start over and go back into it.
After a while you will be able to relax right into the State after the first few breaths.
When you ask it what it is for, you will get an answer of some sort. This may be a revelation in your understanding of your self or it may be something that you decide you don't want. Either way you take the answer and you start asking for an image of that and you go through the process again of allowing that image to change. Either you won't be able to change it any further and you know how to deal with that, or you will find that it just spontaneously clears. You will know in yourself that it has cleared.
The whole cycle will take twenty minutes or more, depends.
But as you do it over and over, you will get better and better at visualizing.
Just don't force it.
If you consciously try, the only thing that happens is you leave the State instantly.
Once you get into the flow State, you will recognise it again immediately and you will know when you are or are not in the State.
When you feel you have come out of it, just relax your mind and go back down into it. That is the state of complete dissociation, which is what meditation, yoga and mindfulness are aiming for.
People who can't relax and can't visualize don't know what that experience is like, which is why they are not able to achieve it. They are trying too hard. The moment you stop trying, it will appear.
For each session start off where you left the last one.
I think you will enjoy getting in touch with your inner self.