Five Steps to a Healthier Emotional Outlook and Perspective

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Mood & Memory
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Envision a Happier, Less Stressful You

Visualization can be a very positive tool in restoring a healthier, happier perception of yourself and the world. There are probably endless methods and sequences for visualization and, if you want, you can easily modify these to suit your needs. Here is an outline of five simple steps you can follow.

1. Consider your actions

As you lie in bed, relive the events of the day. If there were instances where you expressed any anger, bitterness, ill will, hatred or other negative feelings (either verbally or even if you just had these thoughts), visualize the situation in your mind and picture yourself handling the situation in a positive manner.

2. Let yourself forgive

As you begin to re-examine and understand how you react to others, you'll most likely need to work on forgiveness for both yourself and others. Unresolved hurt can destroy you both physically and mentally. It implants itself deeper and grows into bitterness and, if left untended, it will eventually transform into feelings of hatred.

3. Accentuate the positive

Next, it is time to give thanks for all of the wonderful things in your life. If you can't find anything, it's only because it's easier to feel sorry for yourself than look for the positive aspects. If nothing else, you should feel extremely positive that you're going through this process to make things better from this moment forward.

4. Relax body and mind

After a few minutes of working through the above suggestions, it's time to relax and get rid of the physical stresses that have accumulated throughout the day. Again, there are numerous relaxation procedures; however, this one is particularly effective and easy to learn.

Start by lying flat on your back with a pillow to support your neck and head and with your hands at your sides. Beginning with your toes, first tense the muscles, then allow them to relax completely. From there, move to your feet, lower legs, thighs and so on until you finish with the neck and head area. Don't leave any area until it is totally relaxed.

Relaxing may be difficult on the first try, especially when you reach certain areas (like the neck or shoulder areas). With practice, it will become easier and you may be able to use a quicker technique. (In the same position, imagine you are lying in a warm stream of water that runs from your feet, up your legs, thighs, and so on, and as it moves up the length of your body it relaxes every muscle). Don't be surprised if you fall asleep the first several times.

5. Visualize happiness

Once you have mastered these relaxation exercises and can stay awake, it's time to visualize happiness.

First, imagine your entire body encompassed by a bright white light. Next, picture yourself as you would like to be. For example, you might see yourself as extremely happy and healthy enjoying a walk on a beautiful spring morning. Picture situations with loved ones or friends in the surroundings you would like to experience. (It is fine to picture others with you, just make sure you don't visualize yourself controlling them or their actions.)

These exercises can turn out to be some of the most powerful tools you can ever develop for helping your body heal itself, both physically and mentally.

They can be one of your most powerful goal-achieving tools when used properly. The key is to use your imagination not only to "see" circumstances you would like to occur, but also to develop the ability to imagine how to touch, feel, smell and even taste those situations. In other words, when you picture yourself in a positive situation, imagine the input you'd be receiving from your other senses. The more detailed you can become, the more powerful a tool visualization will be.

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