Each morning, most of us have the ability to direct the mood of our day. We can either carry our subconscious fears, nightmares and anxieties into breakfast and beyond. Or, we can redecorate the rooms of our mind to create a more pleasant atmosphere. Consider Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl. During his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp where he witnessed catastrophic loss and death firsthand, Frankl immersed himself in positive memory and the imagery of hope, which he credits for his survival. After his release, he developed logotherapy, a therapeutic method that focuses on increasing one’s will by locating a sense of meaning through the mind’s creation. Closer to home, it can safely be said that Singapore’s founder, Lee Kuan Yew, was able to see beyond the malarial swamp that is now a glittering global success story. And, a highly cited study conducted by The Cleveland Clinic Foundation found that simply visualizing exercise led to greater muscle activation levels and improved overall outcomes. In other words, participants gained significant strength through mental training. There are countless examples to support the real power of visualization.
Morning visualization—“seeing” our day in our minds when we first wake up—has three distinct benefits. First, it gives you the opportunity to reprogram your subconscious mind on a daily basis. Studies on neuroplasticity provide ample evidence that we can indeed rewire our brains. But, in order to fill in those old negative grooves, we’ve got to create new mental images. Second, visualization in the morning will better prepare you to actually do the things that you’d like to do. If I can imagine enjoying and completing a thirty minute run before the sun rises, I’ll be a lot more motivated to lace up those running shoes instead of staying in bed. Third, morning visualization enhances what’s within your control. We encounter so many circumstances each day that are beyond our making: traffic jams, a grumpy boss, an after-work party with lots of alcohol and unhealthy food. Visualization prepares you to focus on what you can change instead of orienting your mind toward frustration.
Visualization is a superpower that all of us possess.
What’s happening around us can have less of an impact on our reality than what’s happening within us. When you consistently seed your mind with life generating thoughts, the world around you flourishes and you’ll begin to see yourself bloom, too.
Now, here’s something for you to try…
You’ve just awoken. Set a timer for 60 seconds and visualize your desired day ahead. Then, plan the day out based on that visualization, focusing on what’s within your control.
What does my ideal day look like? Write it out!
Thanks for reading! Any thoughts on this post? Leave them in the comments section below. This is post #1 in an extended series on habit change that will help you reflect on your health behaviors and take positive action. More on that later!