There’s a lyric in the Rocky Horror Picture Show that goes “Don’t dream it, be it”. However, dreaming it – imagining something in detail, getting all your senses involved in the experience – helps you be/come it…
Imagination is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool to assist in making changes in your life.
It has long been used by athletes and others to help boost their performance. In this instance, you focus on your desired result, imagining it as already having happened. You focus on what you would see when you achieve that goal, what you would hear and feel, perhaps even taste and smell. This could be considered as using imagination to focus on the positive.
Several recent studies also showed how imagination (and specifically visual imagination or visual aids) can be used to help stop food cravings. In particular, it was used to bring up images of pleasant or engaging activities rather than thinking about food. Here, then, imagination is used as a tool for distraction.
A third way of using imagination is to create a negative image around something you want to let go of or remove from your life. For example, if you want to stop smoking, you could imagine your lungs filled with black tar, your mouth filled with ash and cigarette butts, or perhaps smoking a cigarette that tastes and smells as though it was soaked in urine. You pick whatever distasteful idea will help put you off smoking. Here, you use your imagination to amplify the negative in order to reinforce your desire to stop.
For any of these three ways to exercise your imagination, you can use aids to help you tap into your senses. For example, you could bottle some unpleasant smelling thing to sniff while you imagine the thing you want to remove from your life. Or you could find a visual image that speaks to the goal you want to achieve, or to the distraction you want to anchor in your mind for times of need. You could also find a piece of music that evokes the feeling you want to have –
This is a large part of what is done in a hypnotherapy session. The therapist helps you identify your goal, and how best to approach it. Then, the actual hypnosis is a way of strengthening your imagination so that these techniques are more effective, in the same way that a bottled scent or an image can act as a support.
Certainly, using imagination in this way is something you can do by yourself. In fact, most hypnotherapists agree that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis: you can’t be forced to do anything. And you are always an active participant in where your subconscious is willing to take you.
Still, having someone else guide you in the process can help you relax into it more, and can also help keep you on track.
Either that, or you can go back to watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show and come up with a more sci-fi way to achieve your goals…