Self-care and the Power of Visualization

A young woman with a graduation cap drawn over her head.

“Self-care” usually conjures up images of exercise, nutrition, and drinking plenty of water.

While those are fundamental to self-care, here is something else to consider: the power of visualization. This simple technique uses mental images to influence the body, to prepare for performances, and even control pain.

Olympic athletes do this. Famous actors apply this technique. Those successful in business and other industries know the power of visualization. Here’s a shortlist of celebrities who have claimed creative visualization has played a significant role in their success: Tiger Woods, Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Ellen Degeneres, Will Smith, Drew Barrymore, and Bill Gates. Even Oprah has claimed that she learned about the power of visualization from actor Jim Carrey.

Trying Out Visualization

Try the following exercise and note what happens:

Imagine you are holding half of a lemon. You feel the weight in your hand. The skin is a little bumpy. Hold the lemon to your nose and squeeze it a little. Smell the lemon. Now squeeze the lemon into your mouth and bite down. Feel the juicy flesh and taste the sour flavor. Keep chewing on the lemon. 

Two halves of a yellow lemon.

Did you salivate a little? Did you pucker up just thinking about it? Did you grimace a little when you imagined eating the lemon or did you enjoy it?

Your thoughts alone likely created a physical reaction in your body. Now, what if you used the power of your thoughts to intentionally create what you would like to see or experience? 

How can you use this in school or in your career? Think of an area you want to improve and start with that.

Real-World Application

Imagine you have an interview scheduled. How do you want to feel before and during the interview? See yourself arriving on time and feeling calm, confident and prepared. For added impact, tell yourself, “I am calm, confident, and prepared.” Say this over-and-over because the words you tell yourself stick.

On an exam day, try seeing yourself as relaxed, yet alert, and feeling smart and prepared. Imagine sitting at the desk, computer or wherever the exam takes place and the answers easily coming to you and you easily showing what you know. Tell yourself, “I am relaxed, alert, smart and ready.” 

The movie you are playing in your mind often plays out in real life. There are some techniques you can use to help change the station if you don’t like what is playing in order to help direct some new outcomes.  Along with visualization, you can try:

  • Breathing practices
  • Meditation and mindfulness methods
  • Affirmations
  • Vision Boards

For additional information on the power of visualization and how to stay focused, please contact your local SPC Career Services office.

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