Feeling stuck in negative emotions again? Beating yourself up for not posting on social media… again?
Not knowing how to escape them sucks; you’re not alone, and I’m sharing how you can use your imagination to coach your unconscious mind and overcome negative feelings.
Many of us struggle with this at one point or another. But what if I told you that there’s a simple tool you can use to shift your mindset and feel better?
It’s called imagination.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Imagination? That’s just for kids.” But hear me out.
Research shows that our minds have difficulty distinguishing between real and imagined events. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience found that the same brain regions were activated during both imagining and perceiving visual information. This means that imagining something can feel just as real to our brains as actually experiencing it.
So, how can we use this to our advantage regarding our emotions?
The first step is to ask yourself, “How do I want to feel instead?”
This is where your imagination comes in.
Close your eyes and picture yourself feeling the way you want to feel. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel in your body? The more details you add, the more real it will feel in your mind.
If you’re like me and struggle with visualizing
I’ve got you; I went blank when I was first asked to imagine myself feeling a certain way.
It felt frustrating and unhelpful. But then I realized that even feeling blank was a feeling. So, I started by acknowledging that feeling and asking myself what I wanted to feel instead.
Once you’re connected to how you want to feel, you can use your imagination to create a mental picture of that feeling.
When you want to feel differently from how you’re feeling, some questions to ask yourself are; (with examples)
- What do I see? (a scowl on my face)
- What noises can I hear (even if they’re in your [ahem] head/ imagination)? (reprimanding myself for not posting again)
- What do I feel – to do this, you might like to do a bit of a body scan; sink into your body (it may help to look down physically and around your body, like you’re scanning or using an MRI) and pay attention; notice anything you feel. (tight chest)
Now you’re connected to how you feel; you can ask how you want to feel instead.
And to get there, you can repeat the same process with a subtle difference (with some examples)…
- What do you want to see (a smile on your face)
- What do you want to hear (loving words FROM you to you regardless if you’ve posted or not)
- What do you want to feel (warm and comfortable)
Our senses make ‘that thing’ (in this case, feeling ok about your actions) as real as possible in our minds.
The key is to use your senses to make the imagined feeling as real as possible.
Knowing how we want to feel means we can choose more of that on purpose.
Research suggests our minds can have difficulty distinguishing between real and imagined events.
That’s why a ‘scary’ move is …. scary!
- A study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience used brain imaging to examine the neural activity associated with imagining versus perceiving visual stimuli. The researchers found that the same brain regions were activated during both tasks, suggesting that imagining and perceiving visual information may be processed similarly in the brain.
The more details you add, the more real it will feel and the more effective your change will be.
You can change your mindset and overcome negative emotions by using your imagination to create positive feelings. It takes practice, and with time, you can learn to use this powerful tool to your advantage.
So, next time you’re feeling stuck in negative emotions, take a moment to ask yourself how you want to feel instead, and then let your imagination take over. Trust me, it’s worth a try.
I hope this blog post has been helpful to you. Be sure to connect & share how you plan to use your imagination to overcome negative emotions.
Click here to book your Life Audit because I give a shit about you being able to post on social media without beating yourself up.