Using visualization to improve physical and psychological well-being

Being a superlearner, you have a powerful visualization technique in your toolbox. It is only reasonable to ask what this toolbox can be used for other than learning. The answer is somewhat complex and very exciting. Today I will talk about the healing power of your visualizations. This article is a sort of an overview and should not be used to acquire a specific visual tool.

Healing visualizations

There are many ways to use visualization for healing as a form of hypnosis ranging between deep hypnosis, self-hypnosis, NLP, positive thinking, placebo effect and so on. The style of visualization activity can be chosen based on a particular situation and your personal preferences. The level of effectiveness of such methods is not always predictable, yet usually very good.

  • There will be some healing which will intensify the effect of other treatments you use.
  • The immune system will probably be boosted, which will make you stronger. In rare cases, this boost is sufficient to cure cancer.
  •  If there is pain or depression or grief, the pain will very often get easier. Dentists occasionally use hypnosis for pain relief.
  • Occasionally there will be miracle cures, especially in the case of psychosomatic events.

It is best to combine visualization with more conventional techniques. The healing effect of conventional medicine will boost the power of your visualization, and good visualization will often improve the healing effect of conventional medicine and reduce the side-effects.

Some of the processes involved have been known for thousands of years, and yet scientists still struggle to explain them. Scientists fail to explain even the placebo effect. For example

“Happy place”

The simplest form of self-hypnotic visualization we can use is going to our “happy place”. A typical yoga session will often include this exercise.

We visualize with very great detail the place that makes us happy: a beach, or a meadow, or a mountain peak. The specific visualization is very personal. This does not have to be a real place, but it is easier if the visualization is based on a place we have great memories of. To be really effective, this sort of visualization needs to be immersive: we should be able to imagine every possible detail using all our senses. Each time we visualize the “happy place”, we sharpen the details, clean up the little lacunas in our visualization.

Quite often before we go to our “happy place” we relax all the muscles in our bodies. The muscle relaxation is also a mental procedure, very similar to a very light message: we focus our attention on various muscles and visualize the muscle relaxing. The visualization of relaxing muscles usually sends a sufficient neural impulse for the muscles to relax, and the rapport between the body and the brain gets established.

We are successful when the “happy place” starts to feel more real than the actual reality. It is important not to lose ourselves completely in the “happy place” since this is very tempting.

The “happy place” visualization usually helps rest and relaxation, occasionally curing insomnia. In some cases, it can be used as an easy way to escape pain and depression.

Anchoring

Anchoring is a basic technique in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) where your associate different physical states with different visualizations, and then try to link the visualizations in a powerful animation. As we play the animation in our heads, the physical state also slightly alters in sync with the animation.

This method can be used to treat physical issues and do the actual healing. The visualization should be very intense and should last ~10 seconds and repeated ~50 times each time session. It is best that even after the physical effect is cured, the visualization is still reviewed so it does not loose its efficiency. It typically takes 20 min to learn the initial visualization and link it to physical states in our mind.

For example, we start with a dirty room and associate the dirt with different toxins in our body. Then we imagine that the clean room means our body is free of toxins. So we imagine cleaning the room as our body tries to detox itself. You can easily find online or buy different visualization and animation scripts for most common health issues.

Some visualizations are more effective than others in any given situation. There are many details to consider when practicing anchoring. One of the main issues is the feedback: a good visualization feels true and has a strong feedback on our emotional and physical state. It is best to learn the process with a practicing NLP specialist, or use a biofeedback device. Fortunately, the process is fairly simple and there are many great specialists.

Reframing

Reframing is another technique in neurolinguistic programming (NLP), this time to deal with emotional situations. In the superlearner course, we call it “multiple perspectives”. We visualize various real life situations that make us feel uncomfortable and ask ourselves how someone else could feel more comfortable or act more effectively in a similar situation.

Typically it is sufficient to find a real or imaginary role model that will act in the particular way we desire. For example, if you have anger issues, ask yourself what Gandi would do in a similar situation. As we visualize the reaction of the imaginary role model, it becomes progressively more real than our own reaction in a similar situation. At some point. we can replace our own reaction with the reaction of the role model without any negative effects on our identity.

The main challenge here is identifying the original situation and the proper way for the role model to handle it. Quite often we will experience some sort of fallacy that will make us blind to something very obvious for people around us. Therefore it is best to practice this technique with a partner. Usually, the close family bonds are too intense for this sort of rapport, and it is best to use specialists or friends we trust. One of the tricks to overcome the need of a partner is identifying a second role model, this time with the same behaviors that you identify in yourself.

Positive thinking

Quite often, a healthy dose of optimism is all we need. Positive thoughts typically do not replace the negative thoughts. If for every negative thought we get three positive thoughts, we are in a good place. Too many positive thoughts (above 1:10 ratio) may be as damaging as too many negative thoughts (below 1:2 ratio).

The basic idea is very similar to the reframing. Each time we get a negative thought, we try to form several positive thoughts wy viewing the subject from a different angle. For some people positive thinking is natural. Others need to prepare ammunition. There are several exercises to generate a toolbox of positive thoughts.

  •  What are the things we are grateful for?
  • How our life is different from people less fortunate?
  • What made us smile today?
  • Which people make us feel good?

Often we generate positive thoughts by recalling tiny details of our daily routine and visualizing the things we enjoyed with great detail. There will be things we do not enjoy, and it is best to reduce our focus on them and “fast-forward” them in our recall. Alternatively, we can visualize in a great detail imaginary life of other people and try to understand what we would feel in their place.

Nobody really should want to be in shoes of any other person, so if this is not the case, probably you are missing something important.

Mental toolbox or library

If you are comfortable using a memory palace, mental toolbox or library should be very natural for you.  It does not really matter which specific visualization will be used for storing your mental hacks.

Each time you find some mental hack or visualization or experience, add it to your mental library. Now assume you encounter some new situation which strongly emotionally affects you, and you need to counter the effect. You visualize the library and try to look at the books in it. Each book has a specific color, size and an image on its cover. One by one you visualize examining the books looking for the solution to the challenges imposed by your current situation. For each book try to think creatively (out of the box) how it can be adjusted to solve the particular issue you are facing.Quite likely you will

Quite likely you will find a creative way to combine several mental hacks to solve your current problem. If you do not find this hack, at least you will have a better understanding where to look for it. In any case, the process of going through a mental library is sufficiently calming to counter the first emotional reaction.

You should revisit your mental library quite often. Divide the mental library into bookcases, having ~6 bookcases with ~6 bookshelves and ~6 books per shelve. Imagine vividly the library and each object in it. You can use the memory of your school library and build upon it.

Hypnotic trance immersion

Sometimes we use visualizations and stories to get into a hypnotic trance. In this case, the visualizations are used to induce the trance state,  and the actual work is done via some other tool, like a hypnotic app we can buy on an appstore.

There are hundreds of hypnotic texts available almost for free or totally free. These texts are quite often very good, written by qualified and experienced hypnosis specialists. Unfortunately, they rarely work, simply because we need to get into a trance for them to work.

Visualization is one of the easiest ways to get into a trance. Quite often we get into trance simply by visualizing a puzzling story or an optical illusion. As we focus on the optical illusion we get confused and susceptible for hypnosis, and suddenly very cheap tools start to work really well.

Here are some basic visualizations for self-hypnosis.

 

Basic tips

There are some basic ideas which are useful in all visualizations we do for healing and wellbeing:

  • The visualizations should be very detailed and vivid
  • Use simple yet emotionally powerful scenarios
  • Involve other senses to get immersion
  • Revisit the visualizations that work even when you do not use them
  • Occasionally you do need some outside help to make a powerful visualization
  • If you try hard (4 sessions of 20 min each) and a visualization simply does not work, try a different visualization or even a different approach

Summary

You can use visualization to counter strong emotional and physical issues. The visualization process is very simple if properly selected and trained. When used properly, you will feel better and heal faster.

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