What Is Visualization Meditation And What Are the Benefits?
Updated May 09, 2019
Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
Visualization has been used by a host of successful people, including athletes, entertainers, and business moguls to help them achieve their goals. While you can simply visualize success, the most effective way to use this technique is in visualization meditation. What is that? It's a simple, step-by-step process you can do almost anywhere, whenever you choose. Here's how it works and why it's worth considering.
Moving Toward The Future
When you think of the challenges that lie ahead of you, you may have a vague idea of where you want to go with your life. If that's the case, though, you're more likely to stumble into anything that comes along without exerting much control over what happens to you.
Visualization, on the other hand, allows you to see the future you want in vivid terms. You not only know what you want, but you know how to achieve it. Combined with SMART goals, visualization can move you steadily towards a future you want.
What Is A SMART Goal?
In 1981, George Doran wrote about an acronym that would come to be used by corporations, governments, and individuals alike when planning for the future. The acronym is SMART, and here's what it stands for:
- S: Specific - Goals need to be specific. Otherwise, you know neither how to achieve them or when you've done so successfully.
- M: Measurable - With goals you can measure, you know when you're falling short of the mark and when you're moving toward it. In the end, if the goal isn't measurable, you'll only have a vague notion of whether or not you achieved it.
- A: Assignable - Goals have to be assignable to a person or team. Saying someone or something outside your control will do something is not a goal. It's a hope, but you have no power to make it happen.
- R: Realistic - If a goal isn't realistic, what's really the point of it? You need goals that are doable and that you can access the resources you need to complete these goals.
- T: Time-related - You have to set a time frame on your goals if you want to move toward them as quickly as possible. Set a target time and plan to complete your goal by that date.
Goals are extremely helpful in nearly every aspect of life. However, a goal is not visualization. For visualization, you need to find your own unique vision.
What Is Your Unique Vision?
Your vision comes from within you. You don't impose it on yourself by making yourself a to-do list or thinking about what you should do. Instead, it comes from your personal worldview and your inner desires.
So, if you can't make up a vision for yourself, how can you visualize? It's simple. Trust that the vision is there within you. All you have to do is uncover it and reveal it to yourself. One way to do this is through visualization meditation.
What Is Visualization Meditation?
Visualization meditation combines the practice of meditation with the technique of visualization.
In meditation, you sharpen your focus through a mental exercise such as controlled breathing or repeating a mantra. It's a practice based on calm reflection.
Visualization is a technique that allows you to experience the feelings associated with achieving some future goal. Visualization is a technique akin to guided imagery, as it's rooted in visual images and other sense experiences.
It has been used effectively, not only by public figures but also by private individuals who simply want to improve their lives. Through much research, scientists have found that visualization can even improve health issues like cancer symptoms and depression.
In visualization meditation, you simply visualize something positive as you meditate.
How To Visualize Through Meditation
Visualization meditation is a practice that you can engage in when you give yourself some time to stop and reflect on your life. You can do a quick visualization meditation in a few minutes or take a bit longer to connect with your inner self on a deeper level.
Typically, when people first use this method, they can't stay focused for very long. They get distracted by random or negative thoughts or their environment quickly. However, persistence pays off, and eventually you develop a greater ability to benefit from the meditation. The following steps can help you visualize during meditation.
Focus Through Mental Exercise
To start the meditation, you can use any of several focusing exercises. Deep, controlled breathing helps keep you calm and alert and give you something to focus on other than your problems. Another exercise is to look directly at an object and focus on that. Whatever focus you create will carry you through the next steps of the visualization process.
Focus On One Area Of Your Life
Don't try to fix everything about your life that you don't like all at once. Instead, focus on just one aspect. For example, you might focus on your career, your relationships, your financial situation, or a role, such as being a parent.
Imagine the Best That Could Happen
Your task during the meditation is to imagine the very best that could happen. Not only that, but you need to imagine it clearly, distinctly, and in great detail.
Allow Negative Thoughts to Pass
Let your worries, fears, and arguments pass by without dwelling on them. You can't stop thoughts from coming. What you can do is not give them space to stay in your mind.
Meditate on a Mid-Range Goal
Think of a time in the not-too-distant future when you will have had a chance to make progress toward your goal. Now, think of that mid-range goal. What steps are you taking in your imagined future to move towards that goal?
Imagine Your Life When That Goal Comes True
Next, imagine what your life will be like at the moment you achieve that SMART goal. Imagine the specifics of it. What sights will you see as you move toward achieving your goal? What else will you experience? How will you feel emotionally?
Step Back nd Enjoy The View
Now, gain some perspective by imagining that you're watching yourself experience that good feelings and exciting sensations associated with achieving your goal. Enjoy the moment, knowing that you've already taken an important step in making your dream come true.
Come Back To Center To Choose Immediate Steps Toward Your Goal
The last step of the meditation is to think in concrete terms about what steps you will take in the coming day, week, or month to move towards fulfilling your goal. Make these short-term SMART goals and dwell on their ability to guide you toward success. As you close your visualization meditation, relax into your physical self, feeling the sensations that are present in your environment.
Move Toward Your Goal Every Day
Although the meditation itself is over, you can continue to benefit from the conclusions you drew there. You can't go about your life in a constant state of intense focus such as you experience during meditation. However, you can maintain a degree of focus on your goals and actions towards those goals. Take those ideas of ways to work towards your goal and translate them into action every day.
What Are The Benefits Of Visualization Meditation?
Meditation on its own has many health benefits, such as reducing high blood pressure, lowering heart rate, and calming the mind. Visualization can help you move towards success surely and steadily. What about visualization meditation, though. What can you gain from the combination?
As you learn this method, you naturally develop a more positive outlook. You learn to let go of negative self-talk that may have been holding you back for years. You develop the habit of problem-solving and gain a positive, success-oriented outlook.
Goals Held In Mind
Because visualization meditation requires you to focus on your goals, those goals become more real and immediate to you. Once you've focused on them intently for a while, they stay with you and inform choices you make all through your days.
The calming element of meditation helps you prepare for the challenges you'll meet while working towards your goals. Also, when you meet those goals, you'll be ready to enjoy the pleasant and exciting feelings that come from that success.
Some people go through life unable to focus on anything, yet focus isn't necessarily something you either have or don't have. Rather, it's something you can develop, build, and improve over time. Flex that muscle enough, and you'll find your focus is as strong as you need it to be when it really counts.
Increased Motivation And Energy
Meditation sessions usually bring increased energy. As your body relaxes and you take in fresh air, you become more physically energetic. You also become more mentally energized. Your motivation increases more and more as you continue your practice.
Ready For Action
With your plans laid out and your focus strengthened, you're ready to move toward your goal every day of your life.
What If You Can't Find The Positive?
Sometimes, people who try to meditate have a hard time finding anything positive to reflect on or visualize. Even if they can come up with images to visualize, they feel disconnected from them, as if they're a lie rather than a potential truth.
If this sounds like you, you might be suffering from depression. A counselor can help you discover traumas, thought patterns, and circumstances that are keeping you from seeing the good in your current and future life. Then they can help you make changes that will allow you to focus on the positives.
You can talk to a licensed mental health counselor at BetterHelp.com on your schedule for convenient, affordable online therapy. Meditation visualization is just one technique your counselor can teach you to improve your life. If your dreams are in any way realistic, you can find your unique vision, set SMART goals, and create a life that pleases you!