How to Change Your Mood Instantly With Visualization – Part 2

by Tim Arendse on October 29

In Part 1 of the series, we learned how to change our mood instantly through visualization. In Part 2, we’re going to look at how to take even more control by paying attention to patterns and changing details for maximum effect.

Where anger comes to die

Where anger comes to die

I was in the mood to wreck something.

My workday had been tough, but thankfully, it was over. I jumped in my truck and headed home. Instead of going inside, I pulled up at my woodpile to do some chopping. Splitting wood always seemed to calm me down.

I use a heavy maul and normally, the wood blows apart. Not today. The maul stubbornly bounced off after each blow, not even leaking a crack. Not even a sign of progress. I threw the log back and grabbed another. Same story. After ten minutes, I’d thrown three logs back and reduced one into kindling. Exhausted and pissed off, I sat down on the pile and wallowed in self-pity.

“Why can’t I just be happy?” I asked myself.

Inspiration struck and I decided to visualize, focusing on happiness.

It appeared as a spark. Any smaller and it’d be non-existent. That was the representation of my happiness and it just wouldn’t do.

By the time my wife and kids got home, my happiness was represented by a blazing sun. I was filled with gratitude, excited to see my family, and even looking forward to work the next day.

Maybe happiness is being a source of light for others?

Maybe happiness is being a source of light for others?

It was too much for my mind to jump from extreme stress to the happiness I wanted. Sure, I could have convinced myself that since I did the visualization, I was happy, but experience told me the stress would have resurfaced throughout the night.

To get that deep feeling of happiness and crush my stress, I had to do some mind-hacking. This article will teach you how. But first, we have to learn about submodalities.

What the heck are submodalities?

If your brain had its own language, it would be submodalities. Submodalities represent the characteristics of your visualizations. Here’s a list of them, courtesy of Transform Destiny (follow the link to find a printable form):


• Black and white or color
• Near or far
• Bright or dim
• Location (where does it appear in your mind’s eye)
• Size of picture
• Associated (are you “in” the visualization?)
• Focused
• Focus changing?
• Framed or panoramic
• Movie or still


• Location
• Direction
• Internal or external
• Volume
• Speed
• Tone


• Location
• Size
• Shape
• Intensity
• Movement
• Weight
• Temperature

You’ll notice that the list includes auditory and kinesthetic items as well. If you’ve been visualizing for the past week, you’ll know that your mind’s representations aren’t always strictly visual.

Submodalities can be used in two ways:

1. Pulling the teeth from a bad visualization

1. Bulking up a good visualization

By changing a submodality (for example, moving a negative visualization far out into the distance), you change the associated feelings. If you keep imagining your boss yelling at you, you might make the picture small, black and white, and give him the voice of Mickey Mouse.

For bulking up a good visualization, we have to pay attention to patterns.

Why patterns are important

Good visualizations tend to follow certain patterns, and bad visualizations follow other patterns. Remember that submodalities are the language your brain had before you had words. Certain word patterns lead to negativity and submodalities are no different.

My positive visualizations follow this pattern: calm, quiet, no excessive movement, warm, just peaceful. A classic is the ocean water orb.

My negative visualizations follow this pattern: loud and rhythmical noise, excessive movement, cold, something ominous. Classics include someone beating a war drum (a tough situation coming up) and a shrieking monkey bouncing off the walls of my mind, occasionally stopping to panic directly into the “camera” (anxiety).

Patterns are important because they give insight into how you will react to a submodality. If something keeps showing up in your negative visualizations, it’s probably bad news.

How to Bulk Up Your Visualization

Just like a confident person, mountains take up space and don't move for just anyone.

Just like a confident person, mountains take up space and don’t move for just anyone.


The process here is simple:

Intensify as many positive submodalities as you can think of, while avoiding the negative ones.
Here’s an example:

If I want to feel confident, I imagine a mountain. A towering, unmovable mountain.

When I brighten the picture, make it panoramic and bring it close, that confidence intensifies.

When I remove all the sound, it’s even better.

Finally, when I imagine it as dense, low weight, and giving off warm energy, my level of confidence reaches its peak (no pun intended).

I’ve been doing this for several weeks, so I have a good feel for what submodalities are positive to me. If you’re just starting out, try following the list above. Change one submodality at a time and see how you feel. You can always change it back.

Final Thoughts

I regularly get stuck in the feeling of stress. When this happens, it’s not enough to simply imagine a different feeling. I need to crush that feeling of stress. I need to blast myself into a better state of mind.

When I have a tough meeting, I want to be in the most effective mood possible.

When I play with my kids, I want to be 100% present to them.

These are the situations where I not only visualize an appropriate state but also take the few extra moments to add some oomph.

What about you? Do your visualizations carry the energy of a raging fire? Or are your visualizations like embers, waiting to be stoked?


This article is Part Two of a series on visualization. Check out Part 1 here!

Next week, I’m going to cover the last portion of this series: how visualizations affect your body language.

Have you ever noticed that when a person becomes uncomfortable, they become “smaller”? Maybe they slouch, cross their arms and/or legs, look at the floor… You see this with chronically nervous people. They take up less space.

This is an indicator of their inner state.

We’re going to look at producing positive body language. Don’t miss this powerful technique.

Take care and see you next week,


Update on November 9, 2015 – Part 3 of How to Change Your Mood Instantly With Visualization (use your state to change your body language)


Photo credits: Sun – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; no changes made; license

Mountain – Henry Hemming; no changes made; license

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Tim Arendse

When he’s not playing with his kids, Tim is finding new ways to make his life more efficient. He likes to draw inspiration from unlikely sources, like Minecraft, and is willing to explore almost any paradigm if he thinks there’s something to learn. He also hates bananas, loves candy, and holds strong opinions about the best brand of beer.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrice M Foster October 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm

I never knew just by visualizing calmer image I can decrease my stress levels. Interesting to learn how easily one can change mood will try and share with friends.


Tim Arendse October 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Hi Patrice,

Thanks for your comment!

Good point about decreasing stress. I hadn’t made that connection myself. The sky is the limit with this technique.

Let me know how it works for you!


J S Kalungi October 30, 2015 at 3:27 pm

This is new to me too. I usually instead close it off and shut it down and as Tim says I end up ruminating on it next day….
Thanks Tim for this visualisation message. I love it. Do let me know if the next one for sure. Am all ears. Love learning new ways of building up confidence not just for me but others too. Visualising a mountain …a warm one yayyy. Superb.


Sandra October 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Really good article Tim! I liked the first one, but I loved this one… great writing, and very good ideas.


Tim Arendse October 29, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Thanks Sandra!

The one coming up is about the mind-body connection and how changing your state also changes your body language. I think you’ll like it.


Brittany Keller October 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Oh my goodness I love this and bookmarking your site!


Tim October 30, 2015 at 1:49 am

Thanks Brittany!

More visualization goodness to come next week 😀


Gerry Morand October 29, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Most people blame their moods on outside factors when in truth we are in control of out moods. Any time time you feel yourself slipping into a negative mood, you have the power to turn it around. Thanks for posting information on ways to do that.


Tim October 30, 2015 at 1:51 am

That’s right, Gerry. State control isn’t as well-known as it should be. Let’s spread the word!

Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment 🙂


Patricia October 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Very interesting post. One of the first things I do when I move to a new desk and or house is to nest it with images. It makes all the difference!


Tim November 2, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Good idea, Patricia. I’ll try that out with some of my most-used visualizations.


Sheena November 2, 2015 at 2:07 am

awesome tips you shared here. thank u


Tim November 2, 2015 at 7:54 pm

You’re welcome 🙂 Part 3 is on Monday.


Cathy Fraser November 2, 2015 at 9:32 am

Powerful stuff Tim, our mind is so powerful and amazing..


Tim November 2, 2015 at 7:59 pm

I agree. I think the creative side of personal development is one that could use a lot of exploration.


Kahnie November 3, 2015 at 2:14 am

This post is extremely full of value, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to try it for the first time, especially for the example you mentioned about giving my children my full attention by prepping myself to have enough energy and focus to do so.


Alex November 18, 2015 at 8:48 am

I LOVE NLP! I first learned it by reading Tony Robbins’ Unlimited Power and it completed changed my life. It’s incredible how instant a change we can create within ourselves by understanding everything you just shared.
Thank for sharing with others 🙂


Tim Arendse November 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Thanks for the comments, Alex!

Unlimited Power got me started on NLP, too, many years ago. I’ve taken the master practitioner training and have become quite proficient at it.

Nice to see you on the blog!


Noel Rosos December 9, 2015 at 9:46 am

These tips are really interesting Tim. I’m gonna give it a go one of these days. Thanks for sharing them.


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