How to Change Your Mood Instantly With Visualization – Part 1

by Tim Arendse on October 19

It started with a negative thought spiral. You know how it goes… you start to worry about something, one crappy thought leads to another, and you become the world’s biggest victim.

That was me a couple weeks ago. I work with machinery and I couldn’t imagine continuing the day. How would I operate equipment in such a state of mind? I was sure to crash something. What if I crashed into another person? I’d better stay home. My negativity was making me a threat to society.

Instead of calling into work with some made-up acute illness and spending the afternoon writing woeful poetry, I asked myself, “What does this feeling look like?” Here’s what I saw in the theater of my mind:

A spiky ball bouncing around in the walls of my head.

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Negative thought spirals hurt.

If your mind represents your mood as a bouncing ball of evil, damaging everything it touches, you know it’s time to make a change.

What the Heck Is Visualization?

Let’s be honest: at first glance, visualization looks like New Age woo-woo. But it’s actually a very natural process. In fact, this is how you create anxiety in your mind.  Check it out:

  1. Imagine a bad scenario
  1. Change aspects of the picture to make it as horrible as possible
  1. Become timid and afraid
  1. Repeat

Anxiety is a product of unconscious visualization. If your brain is particularly skittish, you’re likely an expert in visualizing all the wrong things. Why not use your expertise in visualizing for good rather than evil?

Conscious visualization is visualizing with a purpose. You imagine success. You imagine encountering barriers and moving past them. Tiger Woods used to visualize his perfect golf swing and injured athletes visualize in their downtime.

I discovered that you can even use visualization to instantly change your state of mind, and in turn, your body language changes. It starts with asking “What does my current state look like?”

If your mind returns a spiky ball of doom (or something equally heinous), there’s a simple solution. Read on.

How to Change Your Mood

The technique is simple: ask yourself how you want to feel and visualize it.

I decided to feel calm. My mind represented this as a glass orb filled with crystal-blue ocean water. That’s all I had to do. The negative thought spiral was gone, and I felt like I just got out of the spa.

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Now that’s more like it.

 

Since discovering this technique, I’ve been using it at least six times a day. Here are a few things of note:

  1. Once you’ve found a powerful visualization, you can keep accessing it. The glass orb filled with ocean water is one I visualize regularly.
  1. Deciding how you want to feel before settling into a task works wonders. I’d rather cut the grass with my teeth than fold laundry, but unfortunately, that attitude makes it a strenuous task. Imagining a sense of pride results in neatly folded clothes without the groaning.
  1. Your inner state affects your body language. Body language is your most important mode of communication. When you change your mood, your body language is going to shift in accordance. We’ll go deeper into this topic later in the series.
  1. It gets better with practice. I never considered myself a highly visual person, but I can summon a visualization (and change my mood) within seconds.

Final Thoughts and Upcoming Articles

We’re always choosing how to feel. If you give feed your mind lots of negative imagery, you’re going to produce anxiety, fear, and worry. Your inner state is going to produce body language that communicates those negative feelings to others.

With this visualization technique, you’re choosing to feel positive. Too many people are convinced that feeling positive comes from some outside source. It doesn’t. Your mind is just as capable of generating positive, feel good emotions as it is bad ones. You are in charge. Choose how you’re going to feel.

This article is part one of a series. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Using details to amplify visualizations
  • A more in-depth look at how visualization changes your body language
  • Combining visualizations for powerful results
  • Why paying attention to patterns is important

See you next week and take care.

-Tim

Update on October 29, 2015 – Part 2 of How to Change Your Mood Instantly With Visualization (amplify your state)

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

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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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kindredsoul October 19, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Very well written, Tim! It always surprises me is how quickly my state of mind can change from depressed to hopeful, sad to upbeat and motivated. Sometimes all it takes is a phonecall from a good friend or a laugh. The situation didn’t change but my experience of it did. If my perception can change so easily by chance I can only imagine what I can achieve by working with it consciously. I’ll definitely try this visualization.

Reply

Tim Arendse October 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Hi Kindredsoul,

I’m glad you liked it!

I was quite blown away by how effective this is. I’ve had the same experience where a positive interaction can turn my mood around. I find I get the same experience from comedies. Probably all the smiling 😀

My biggest challenge is remembering to choose consciously. It’s not always easy to remember when a bad feeling is all that you can see.

Let me know how it works for you and stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!

Reply

Dan October 28, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Look forward to the next parts! I’ve always had trouble with visualizing, or getting much from it. I think you are on to something!

Reply

Tim Arendse October 28, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Thanks for your comment, Dan!

What kind of visualizing have you done in the past? I know many people visualize their goals and outcomes… I’ve never had much success with that.

Part 2 drops on tomorrow. Take care!

Reply

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