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Visualize: How to improve your visualization skills

Visualization exercises to help you become better at visualizing your goals and dreams

Charlie, a reader of this website, writes:

I have a problem.  A lot of self help programs and even everyday stuff calls for visualization skills.  They seem to assume that we all are able to form perfect detailed pictures in our mind.  Ones they say that are so real it should make it seem like you are actually there.  Thats the problem.  I have trouble forming and maintaining that quality of pictures.  Do you know anything or any resources that would help me improve my basic skills of visualization?  That would be great if you did. 
Here is my reply:

Dear Charlie,

Thank you for your email. I completely understand where you are coming from. 99% of the time my visualizations are pretty fuzzy too. The good news is that there are definitely ways to improve your visualization. Here are some simple visualization exercises and techniques that I recommend you explore...

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Black triangle
Get some white card, and cut it into squares that are about 12 inches by 12 inches. Get some black paper and cut some shapes like a triangle, a diamond, or a star, and stick it on the white card square. So you have a big white square, with a big black triangle stuck on it. Now just stare at it, at eye level, and after staring at it for thirty seconds, close your eyes and try and imagine it just as you saw it. You can open your eyes and check it again, then close your eyes and imagine it again. And just repeat that process until you find that you can hold that image in your mind for longer periods of time. If you can do it for 10, 20, 40 seconds you are doing great. Once you have tried this with your card, you can do the same thing with anything else, like a figurine, the view from your window, a person in a picture etc.

Improve your visualization skill with the black triangle

Geometric Shapes
A really great exercise I used to practice a lot is imagining three dimensional geometric shapes. Start of with something like a pyramid, Imagine it revolving in your mind, imagine seeing it from above and below. Imagine putting your head in it. Now try something like a brilliant blue pyramid with an orange sphere rotating inside the pyramid. Just see what you can see. If you can see anything at all, be pleased with that and practice it over again next time.

Visualization exercises to help you become better at visualizing

Fantastic Theta
The easiest way to visualise is when your brain is producing predominantly Theta brain waves. The theta state is familliar as a state of reverie. If you think of when you wake up in the morning, if you lie in bed for a while and are still sleepy, you can lightly doze and dream vivid dreams, and imagery plays easily in your mind.... that's a theta state. You can achieve this state by practicing meditation, doing relaxation exercises, or via self-hypnosis or biofeedback. But I think the easiest way to get into theta mind states is by using mind machines or audio CDs with binaural beats on it such as those produced by HemiSynch.

Visualize better with mind machines

Image Streaming Super Highway
Another brilliant way to unlock your imagery is by imagestreaming. Imagestreaming gets you comfortable and well practiced in dealing with visual cues in your mind's eye.

Eyes-Open Visualization
Another super visualization exercise is to simply look around you and imagine picking things up in front of you. For instance, I am sitting at my desk, and I am reaching my hand out to the desk and imagining a pink cup. It's a large cup, like you get in coffee bars, with a matching pink saucer. I hold my hand as though I am picking it up by the handle, and imagine feeling the cool hardness of the ceramic, the weight as I lift it up and how it pulls down on my fingers. I move my hand as though bringing the cup up to my lips and "see" how the cups looks as it moves and tilts towards me. Somehow visualizing things with your eyes open is easier because you can kind of place it in context of the 'real' things around you. Play with this as you go about your day. It's kind of like conscious day dreaming.

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Final Visualization Tips
Give those things a go and see how you get on. It's true that some people are very visual. I don't know what your dominant sense is but we all have the power to visualise. If you can remember what color your front door is that is sufficient for visualization (because you have to 'see it', however briefly, to be able to remember it). Relax, you don't have a problem. You can improve your visualization. You start with basic outlines and then gradually learn to build up and enrich the picture by adding more details. Sometimes it helps to write down a description before hand, which is rich in sensory details (not just visual but feelings, sensations, tastes, temperatures, smells, sounds etc) and then read it and visualize along with the reading of it. Your intention should be sufficient to achieve your results.

Other visualization exercises that are suggested are:

  • 'Seeing' through closed eyelids
  • Drawing, sketching and doodling more
  • Making visual mind-maps
  • Recording your dreams
  • Using more visual words and phrases in your language
  • Pretending / Imagining / Remembering instead of that big scary word 'visualizing'
  • Using visualization software and drawing packages like 3D Poser, 3DMax etc

I've got to dash, Mrs Walnut is waiting for me to go shopping with her. I hope these brief suggestions help you improve your visualization skills. Please feel free to write back with your results or further questions.

Warmest Regards,

Wily Walnut

 

Related Articles:

Visualization techniques: answers to your visualization technique questions

Advanced Creative Visualization: How to take your visualizing to the next level 

 

QUESTIONS: Got questions? I'd love to hear from YOU. Email me: wily[at]wilywalnut.com


Visualization Resources:

Develop power visualisation skills with this Hypnosis download

 

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