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visualizing

Is Creative Visualization a Form of Hypnosis?

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Creative visualization is the key
to successful positive thinking because it uses positive visualization to “talk” to the subconscious mind the same way hypnosis does...

Only with creative visualization, you're adding another level of effectiveness because you're adding an emotional “tag” when you do this technique properly.

There are some wonderful benefits of visualization like...

Calming down your nervous system...

Which allows your cortisol levels to drop...

Which decreases your chances of serious diseases caused by high levels of cortisol...

And when positive visualization is done consistently, it changes your molecular chemistry in such a way that you're addicted to staying positive.

You can use visualization for health matters too.  I've heard of people visualizing cancer tumors shrinking, and they do!

But you may be asking, "What is visualization?"

It's fun...

It's healthy...

And it uses holographic images inside your mind to visualize your life around you.

Does it work?

Yes, and there are many ways to do it.

As both a hypnotherapist and actor, I've found the best way to practice visualization is to combine self hypnosis with acting exercises that put you “in the scene.”

Is it hard?

No, not really.

It's just a matter of finding the right visualization exercises for you.

But before we discuss the how, let's bring everyone up to speed on what creative visualization really is and if it works.

Creative Visualization
What is it? Does it Work?

So, what is visualization and does it work?

There's a lot of information out there about creative visualization from just about everyone and his brother. I usually like to see what Wikipedia has to say about it before I do much other exploration.

And according to Wikipedia, creative visualization is really the basis for positive thinking and acknowledges that it works.

What I found most interesting is the reference it made to “one of the most well-known studies on Creative Visualization in sports” which concluded...

That out of four “training” groups, each one doing a different percentage of physical training and “mental” training...

That the group who performed the best actually did the least amount of physical training, but the most mental rehearsal.

In fact, I remember in the movie, The Secret, one of the hosts talking about the same thing.

He was a well known psychologist who took the visualization process from the Apollo Space Program and applied it to Olympic athletes during the 80's and 90's...

He hooked the athletes up to sophisticated biofeedback equipment and had them run their event in their minds – or visualize them.

What he found happen was amazing...

T
he same muscles fired in the same sequence when the Olympic athletes were running their event in their mind as when they were running it on the track...

I find that fascinating...

To think that the power of visualization techniques can be that strong...

But when you think about it, why wouldn't they work?

When you're nervous, your hands sweat...

Heart pounds...

And you experience other “body reacts to your mind” symptoms.  So why wouldn't our bodies respond to creative visualization?

It does because it doesn't know the difference if it's imagination or real...

It's “eating popcorn” and watching the movie you're giving it.

So, in essence, creative visualization is one of those mind exercises – like self hypnosis – that puts you in the susceptible state of relaxation – yet takes you to the movies.

The difference is that self hypnosis relies more heavily on words, while visualization techniques rely more on reprogramming your mind through pictures to which your body responds.


one-touch meditationUsing Brainwave Entrainment for Visualization

A really cool way to ease yourself into doing creative visualization is to give yourself a boost with something called a brainwave meditation.  In fact, I like this idea so much that I've made customized brainwave meditation audios for different purposes, one of which is to put your mind into a "brainwave frequency" that encourages creative visualization.


How does creative visualization differ from visual hypnosis?


Visual hypnosis is where you focus (externally) on an object – such as a candle.

Creative visualization focuses (internally) on images or pictures that create emotions.

I personally get so involved in the “scene” in my head that I don't want to break my focus to look at an external object, such as a candle. But it has its place during the hypnotic induction if you want to use it that way.

Which brings us to the how...

How to Use Creative Visualization
as One of Your Best Positive Thinking Tools

You have something called emotional intelligence, which is what you're using when you say, "My gut is telling me to do it..."

It's your emotions telling you how to act or proceed, and this emotional component of your intelligence is critical to effectively using the power of visualization.

The most important thing I'd like you to remember as I proceed here is to connect with your emotional intelligence and:
 
Feel each emotional moment as you visualize.

I can't stress this enough.

Will it work without the emotions?

Possibly, if you do it a billion times...

But we don't want to do it a billion times, do we?

I don't.

So, let's talk our brain's language and give it a movie to watch – complete with all the thrills and chills that go with the flick!

This is where your emotional intelligence gets fine tuned as well.  The more you "know in your gut" that you're feeling the right feeling, the better in tune you are with the "moment" and the direction you are taking your life.

The more you practice connecting with that feeling, the more you become "best buddies" with each emotion.

VISUALIZATION EXERCISE

There are a lot of visualization exercises, but here is a simple one that gets you going now:

I've kept it simple so you can memorize the steps:
  1. Quiet Place
  2. Affirmation Card 
  3. Quiet Your Mind
  4. [OPTIONAL - Induce a Relaxed State of Self Hypnosis]
  5. Breathe
  6. Picture a Situation
  7. Repeat Affirmation
  8. Feel Emotion
  9. Repeat Affirmation
  10. [OPTIONAL - Tap in Affirmation]
If you'd like to include a visual hypnosis technique, focus on a candle while doing steps 3 – 5, then close your eyes and go to step 6.

1. QUIET PLACE

Once you get really good at creative visualization, you'll be able to keep a “reminder” note with you at all times and can do it anywhere.

While you're learning this positive visualization technique, a quiet place is best. Preferably somewhere that gives you a good feeling.

Turn off the phone...

Feed the cat...

Tell hubby you're “out”....

Do whatever to shut out your current reality – and I included the cat because inevitably my little one comes and nudges me for food right when I'm blissfully off somewhere...

And who can resist such a loving nudge?

So, feed the cat, dog, spouse, kids, bird and then recluse - this is your time!

Position:  Should you sit, stand or lie down? Again, when you're starting out, the best position is sitting upright in a solid chair. Later, as you get more expert, you can experiment with different positions.


2. AFFIRMATION CARD

Having your affirmation written down on a handy card helps to keep you on track when you're “blissfully off somewhere” and helps you remember what you wanted to program into your mind in the first place.

Be specific about what you want. A better way is to have an audio tape run you through the sequence.


3. QUIET YOUR MIND

Easily said, but not always the easiest to do, right?

Okay, keep a note pad and pencil right next to you to jot down things you don't want to “forget.”

Just keep focusing on taking breaths in and out and jotting things down until you feel relaxed and peaceful.


This is your time to practice your positive visualization.  If you have to "schedule it on the calendar" do that...

You're "in a meeting" with yourself...

Time for your mind to "breathe"...

Focus on getting all the benefits of visualization you possibly can get for 20-30 minutes.



4. OPTIONAL – INDUCE A RELAXED STATE OF SELF HYPNOSIS

If you know how to do self hypnosis, I find that doing an hypnotic induction at this point deepens the state of relaxation. If you don't know how to do self hypnosis, it's okay for now.  At some time you'll probably want to add that to get more effectiveness from your visualization exercises.


5. BREATHE

Breathe in and out at least three more times. Each time letting your body sink more deeply into your chair.

Don't let your upper body collapse.

Keep good posture while feeling a deeper “sinking and relaxation” feeling with each breath.


6. PICTURE A SITUATION AND HOLD IT VISUALLY IN YOUR MIND

With your eyes closed, “mentally” put yourself into a place where your affirmation has already come true.

Better to choose places with which you are familiar – versus somewhere you've never been before.

Why?

If you've physically been in a place, your body “knows” how it feels to be there. You don't have to work so hard to “get into” the scene. Instead, you can rely on your body's memory of the place...

In fact, your body may come up with sensations that you “mentally” don't remember...

But your emotional intelligence (or your gut) remembers.

So be sure to pick a place with which you are familiar.

7. REPEAT YOUR AFFIRMATION

Repeat your affirmation three times to yourself.


8. FEEL EMOTION

Feel how good it feels to have your affirmation come true. Let the emotion that arises from “being in the scene” envelop you.

9. & 10. REPEAT AFFIRMATION [AND OPTIONAL TAP]

Repeat your affirmation again...

But this time use some tapping techniques - if you know them - as you say the words to yourself to "tap" in the emotion you're feeling.

Tapping the words in has really helped myself and my clients.  It's another component that works on a physical level...

Yet when it's combined with the other benefits of visualization, it "anchors" the new thoughts in nicely.  

Open your eyes and slowly come back to "reality" when you're ready.

This process will work without the optional parts if you are persistent, but the whole process is easier if you have someone coach you through it using all the techniques listed.


guided-imagery-meditation-leafI have an detailed version of this exercise (complete with a hypnosis script and a guided imagery meditation audio that guides you through the visualization) in my How to Change Your Beliefs Program. It also includes a tapping technique as well as subliminal audios that help you make change happen quickly and effortlessly.


Get a routine down for practicing your visualization techniques and other mind exercises.

Creative visualization is a fun way to change your thought patterns, but not exactly the same as hypnosis.

Could it be considered a form of it?

Maybe...

I think many people could have technical debates about that question.

Here's what I think:

When creative visualization is combined with self hypnosis, which deepens your state of receptivity, it becomes - in my opinion – the most effective way to take charge of your life.

Make it a habit to get the most from it!


Check out this article to help you write your affirmations:

Writing Affirmations: Be Careful What You Put Into Your Brain!
Writing affirmations may seem easy, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Avoid putting the wrong things in your head with this free guide...


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