In our journey through life, we will occasionally face difficult situations either at school, work or at home. Like everything else, these situations are short-lived, however, the state of our mind will determine how long this phase lasts.
Of course it can be hard not to feel overwhelmed by situations such as crippling debts, unemployment, failing health and even a pandemic, but in times of stress and anxiety, you can take proactive steps to lift your mood. One of the various steps is through the use of Positive Mental Imagery.
Mental images are thoughts in pictures. They are pictures, scenes or events that we visualize in our mind which are largely influenced by the things, environment and information we expose ourselves to. These images are usually interpreted as reality by our subconscious mind and the more we repeatedly play these images in our mind, the more we believe them and the more they influence our lives whether we know it or not.
If you use mental imagery correctly, especially in difficult times, you can make positive changes to your life and handle your situation better. In fact, there are several research that shows the use of positive mental imagery to help people who are depressed feel better! But if you continue to visualize negative situations (i.e. negative mental imagery), difficulties and problems, your state of mind will gradually become negative, people will begin to stay away from you, you would be unable to spot opportunities to get out of your bad situation and your self-esteem will take a hard blow.
Positive thinking isn’t about being an ostrich -keeping your head in the sand and ignoring life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking simply means that you choose to approach difficulty in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Here are some tips to help you create positive mental imagery:
- Always be aware of your thoughts. Pay attention to what your mind is thinking and when you catch yourself visualizing negative events, problems or difficulties, or engaging in negative self talk, immediately stop the thought (image/words) and replace with something more positive. You will find my free e-book 31 Days of Affirmation very helpful in positively conditioning your mind. Words of affirmation and encouragement go a long way in enabling the creation of positive mental images.
- Visualize what you really and truly desire concerning your situation. It is normal for your mind to want to interfere with fears, worries and disbelief; but it is your responsibility to educate your mind and change its habits, teaching it to think only of positive outcomes, success and happiness. You can do so printing images that represent what you want, or post-its of positive words, and place them in very visible places like your fridge door, bathroom mirror etc.
- Never stop encouraging yourself. Be your own best friend and remind yourself that you are successful and worthy. This will encourage you to act accordingly and also improve your optimism. You can create a brag list that consists of past achievements and challenges you have overcome both in life, school or work and refer to it in difficult situations. They will remind you of your capabilities and inspire you to be more optimistic about winning your current battle.
- Surround yourself with positive people who inspire, motivate and encourage you. Stay away from bad energy in whatever form, be it a negative workplace, community or any platform that allows harmful comments! If not, you risk exposure to constant thoughts of fear, anxiety, depression and negativity. Instead find friends and support groups (such as the TMH Tribe) who are willing to work with you towards positive feelings and reactions when faced with difficult situations.
- Once in a while, turn off the news. Constantly following the news of the rising death toll caused by the pandemic, images of social violence etc will incite fear and anger in you, which will finally result in you having negative mental imagery. No news is sometimes good news and by looking for constructive blogs, websites and programs to fill your time, a positive mental image will be much easier to create and maintain.