Visualisation is a great tool that successful entrepreneurs use in order to achieve their goals, and therapists use to help clients improve mental health and overcome obstacles to life goals.

What does visualisation do to your brain?

A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that self-guided visualisation can combat negative thoughts and change the way the brain functions.

A small study, it focused on 24 females and six males with depression symptoms. The groups were trained in practicing imagery and were told to do visualisation at home.

The methods were meant to help participants manage trauma, achieve their goals, improve social interactions and support their mental health. For example, to help participants with goal achievement, a participant would visualise the detailed steps of their goal, followed by an image where they’d already achieved their goal.

Participants did home training for 12 weeks, and then participated in another two day seminar. After this seminar, researchers performed brain scans to analyse the results.

The study showed that the participants had fewer depression symptoms and exhibited overall better mental health. The data from EEG scans showed big changes in the right medial prefrontal cortex of the brain, the region linked to life satisfaction.

Participants also showed increased activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter linked to a reduction in levels of anxiety and depression.

Visualisation and stress

Feeling stressed and anxious these days? You may want to give self-guided visualisation a try.

A 2012 study looked at how a CBT-based guided visualisation practice could affect stress, life satisfaction, and psychological symptoms.

Couples with high levels of stress used a guided visualisation script that included relaxation methods, controlled breathing, and stress management techniques taken from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

At the end of this practice, the couples showed lower levels of stress, including less physical symptoms of stress.

How to visualise for a calmer you

Try a quick 'mental vacation,' an exercise meant to help you feel more peaceful, safe and serene.

1. Decide on a place where you feel really wonderful. Maybe you have a favourite travel destination or a childhood place you truly love and long to visit again. Or just a fantasy place you'd like to visit. There are no right or wrong ideal places, as long as the place makes you feel comfortable and safe.

2. Close your eyes, and enter your place with all of your senses. So aim to find a smell, sound, feeling, taste, etc. Using the example of a beach, imagine the sun burning above you. You feel the warm, clean sand under your feet and the gentle breeze brushing against your skin. The ocean waves tickle your ears. You can taste the salt from the air in your mouth.

3. Stay with the visualisation and let it affect the way you feel. Relax your shoulders, let tension drop, let a feeling of safety take over. Breathe into the good feeling.

4. When you open your eyes, notice how you feel. How much has your stress level dropped? Does your body feel more relaxed?

Want to work on visualisation and achieving goals with a therapist? Use our easy booking tool now to find a therapist you like at a price that suits your budget.

Marlena Eva writes in various niches but her love is mental health. Her blog helps people improve their relationship with money and live more fulfilling lives. .

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