Remember the days of your youth when you spent a great deal of time imagining wonderful things? Everything from little girls dreaming of being rescued by a charming prince to little boys imagining slaying dragons to saving the princess. Do you still take the time to do that today—imagine? Picture all of the glorious things you want and how you want your life to be? Imagination is something children enjoy playing with but, for one reason or another, as adults we tend to shy away from it.
Interestingly enough, some therapists are now using the power of imagination to help people get from one place to another, accomplish goals and simply get unstuck. Turns out that dreaming up some positive things in your head is quite beneficial. This is true for those in recovery as well, as the ability to see things going well for yourself can unlock what seems to be invisible forces that are positive and helpful for sobriety.
Imagination therapy, or as some would call guided imagery, can help you in your life in various ways. Let’s take a look:
1. You can imagine your success.
Some therapists like to have their clients pretend they have a magic wand and with that wand they can “Abracadabra” their most perfect desired life. What would that look like? Using the imagination to see your goals come true actually helps create momentum in that same direction. Go ahead and wave your magic wand and see your life the way you want it.
2. Imagination helps you create a new story.
If you keep telling the same old story based on your past, you’re going to keep getting the same results. By using your imagination or guided imagery, you can begin telling a new story that brings to life what you desire. Imagine what you want and then be sure that you only speak that story. Don’t let yourself go backward and draw from your past. If you’re thinking and saying things like, “I always end up like this” or “Nothing ever goes my way,” then you’ve got to stop immediately and change the script. Create a new story and even if you don’t necessarily feel the happy emotions associated with it now, tell that story anyway. Those feelings will catch up and you will actually be co-creating a new, amazing life for yourself.
3. Deep pain can open us up for change.
Have you ever noticed how going through a difficult time tends to make you more willing to do something different? Sure, it hurts terribly whether you’ve lost a loved one, suffered a relationship break up or some other unfortunate thing, but maybe looking back now you can see how going through that time has taught you some valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Know that it’s alright to feel deep grief and pain momentarily, but once you’ve sat with it and processed it, it’s time to let it go. For me, I like to visualize myself on a bridge over water and I see the name of my negative emotion on a piece of paper that I’m holding. I crumple up that paper and throw it in the river and watch it flow downstream. This is me acknowledging its presence and then letting it go. Remember, we have emotions, but we are not emotions. You can choose to let them go.
4. Keep love and wisdom in mind.
Now, granted using your imagination to foster personal or spiritual growth is wonderful, but keep in mind to let love and wisdom rule. You do not want to set yourself up for disappointment by crafting scenarios that are nothing more than illusion. I mean, yes, dream big, but dream reasonably so that you don’t end up frustrated and sad. When it comes to recovery, see yourself sober, strong, disciplined, happy, healthy, an encouragement to others and at peace. Additionally, see yourself accomplishing the goals that are important to you. If you do happen to begin feeling frustrated, you can always adjust your goals or time frame.
5. What you see is what you get.
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase or something like it. What you think and what you see is oftentimes what you get. This is why it is helpful to begin imagining yourself living the life you really want to live.
If you’re not feeling happy and content and there are things that are upsetting to you, perhaps you can start using your imagination to create the kind of life you really want in your mind. Then, as you continually see that positive vision, you’re more apt to take actions toward making that kind of life manifest. Go ahead and create the kind of life you want!