Imagine if you could experience a great challenge, obstacle, or goal before it actually happened.
Imagine if the unknown possibilities were not actually great mysteries, but likely knowns.
Imagine if you could "practice" for your future before stepping into it.
Visualizing accomplishes exactly this.
One of the most common fears among students is fear of the future. It's understandable, the unknown future can paralyze you with questions for which don't have answers. This is exactly why visualization (also known as mental rehearsal) has been a regular tool in student athletes, musicians, and performers. Using your imagination and senses allows you to walk into the future and experiences goals, challenges, and events in a way that positively prepares you for the actuality.
Not sure visualization is for you? Here's a quick breakdown of how you can give it a try:
1. Be focused: Give yourself 5 minutes in a quiet space so you can focus without distractions. Set a timer and close your eyes.
2. Set the stage: Are you walking into an interview? Preparing for a test? Trying to master a skill? Saying no to impulse spending? Think through what your environment looks like. What is the color of the room? What type of chair do you may sit on? How does the tone of your voice sound? What store are you walking around? The goal is to feel as though you are really there.
3. Plan your imagery out before you visualize: What are you sensing as you imagine the experience? What do you hear? How do your muscles feel? What actions/motions are you taking and how does that affect your breathing or heart rate?
Again, the goal is to literally create the experience mentally so you can both prepare and practice for future success and outcomes.
Examples of visualization to start with may be:
Preparing for an interview: You go through your interview prep including dressing and making coffee (imagine the smell as you hold your favorite mug in your hands). You breathe calmly, speaking aloud the "tell me about yourself" interview question in a tone of energy and confidence. You imagine walking into the interview location with your head held high and a spring in your step. After you open the doors, you hear the click of your shoes on the floor...
Establishing a new running routine: You imagine yourself getting out of bed first thing in the morning, hitting the alarm and wiping the sleep out of your eyes. Your muscles feel tight and tense, but good stretch loosens you up. Your clothes and gym shoes were set out the night before, and as you dress you think about how many miles you plan to run. The laces of your shoes are taught beneath your fingers as you tie them tightly...
Getting the idea? Visualization is not at all complicated, though it can take a little bit of practice to feel completely comfortable with the concept. Ultimately you can use this technique to prepare for any future circumstance; the more familiar you are with the event, obstacle, or challenge you want to prepare for, the more comfortable, confident, and ready you will be.
Have you tried visualization before? Comment below with how you think it helped you with your future!
Christina Dizon is the co-founder of StudentHero and has worked with over 250 clients over the last 8 years as a Life Coach. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, and enjoys an active life of hiking, racing, and the outdoors. She is passionate about helping clients find their sense of purpose and power in their identity, and specializes in Wellness and Resiliance coaching.