Top 10 Vision Board Tips

WellnessVisionBoardWhy Create a Vision Board?

Visualisation (or imagination) is an incredibly powerful tool for getting your whole self on the same page.  By imagining the future you desire, you plant that message in your subconscious, which can then work towards it outside of your everyday awareness.  That way, you achieve success with greater ease.

Visualisation has been used by athletes for decades, and is considered a foundation of many psychological approaches, as well as NLP (where it’s called future-pacing).  A life coach can help you define what you want to achieve, so you can make your visualisation as focused and effective as possible.

Not everyone is naturally very able to create visual images in their mind, though.  Not a problem – with a vision board you find the images externally, and then use them for your inner work.

How to Create a Vision Board

  1. Get yourself into the right frame of mind!

Neuroscience shows that when you feel happy you are more creative, so think about what makes you happy.  It might be looking at pictures itself will help you in this regard.  Or maybe watching something funny on TV or reading a bit of a good book, or simply lighting a candle and thinking about the fact that you are dedicating some time to you.

2) Make a physical vision board

Your vision board can be a physical thing: a cork board with pins, or a white board with magnets, or pictures stuck on your fridge.  It’s good if you can have it somewhere you can see it often.  And while a dedicated space is fabulous, your kitchen can also be just fine.  If you are creating a physical vision board, you’ll need to find images, for example in magazines.  You could also use postcards, or photos (though you may not want to stick pins through them :o)

3) Use tech to make a vision board

Another option is to get a bit more techy.  For example, you could create a board on Pinterest.  Or a collage on BeFunky or PicMonkey (both free at a basic level).  Or use Photoshop, if you have the software and know-how.  Another option is that there are now lots of vision board apps, many of them free, or at least cheap.  With all of these, you can pick images from the internet, finding ones that are just right for you.

4) Get your senses and your emotions involved

When choosing images or words, go for things that move you: images that touch your emotions, phrases that make you feel something!  You want to imagine the things you want to achieve, to really feel and sense them.  Choose images that inspire you: that represent what you want to feel in the future, how you want to look, what experiences you want to have.

This is also where hypnosis can help: a hypnotherapist can guide you into a state where you can more easily create a multi-sensorial imaginal world from those images and words you’ve chosen.

5)  Add some inspiring words

However, it’s not just about pictures.  It can be really good to have a few quotations or inspiring statements on your vision board, too.  You don’t want to be overwhelmed by text, but a few key words can work wonders.  Words are processed in the same brain centres as images – both are symbols, after all.

Overall, pictures are more powerful, and should make up more of your board.  This is because you can absorb them more quickly – you get the point straight away.  Also, they work at a number of different levels: you can get more than one meaning from a single image.  This can happen with words, too, but not to the same degree.

6)  Keep it simple

Remember, too, to keep it simple!  If a picture is worth a thousand words, you don’t need hundreds of them.  You can only take in so much at once (some people say 7 pieces of information, plus or minus two).  While you can focus on different images at different times when viewing your vision board, it’s still a good idea to keep it clear and uncluttered.  After all, you don’t want your life to be cluttered and chaotic, either.

What you visualise is what you draw to you, so make it beautiful, inspiring and clear.

What to Do With Your Vision Board

Once you have created it, there are several things you can do with your vision board.

7)  Put it somewhere you’ll see it regularly

You can simply place it in a dedicated space, or in a place where you will see it frequently.  You could also take a picture of it to have on your phone or as your computer wallpaper.

8)  Create an affirmation to use with it

Whenever you see your vision board, stop for a second to let the images and words sink in.  You could say something like, “I am making this vision come to life,” or whatever makes sense to you.

You can also make your affirmation specific to the topic of the vision board.  Combining the affirmation with the images will make each more powerful, as they reinforce one another.

9)  Keep your vision board up-to-date

You can play around with your vision board, tweaking and changing it, or giving it a thorough refresh, as often as feels right to you.  This is good because it both keeps it relevant, and also keeps you actively engaged with the vision for your future.

10)  Create a game plan of how to achieve your vision

As well as having a vision, it helps to get practical and strategise the next steps to take.  Keep these steps small and simple – as you get closer to your vision you’ll figure out the rest of the path.  For now, think about what you can do today, what you can do this week, and what you can do over the next fortnight or month.  Make sure these plans are SMART – be specific about what you’re going to do, how you will know you’ve achieved your goal, make sure it’s realistic and that you know how to go about it, and set a clear time frame for each goal.

 

I hope you’ll give some of these tips a try, as vision boards really are a powerful way to help yourself achieve your desires.  With a vision board, you can clarify what you want, get your subconscious on board, and if you also set out practical steps to move forward, then you’re well on your way!

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2 Little Words That Are Incredibly Powerful

Yes and no are two such small words, it’s hard to believe the impact they have on your life. 

One vital aspect is the importance of having it respected when you say “No!”.

It’s taken time for it to become more honoured that “No means No.”  Even now, it can be a struggle.  Of course, there’s the highly emotive example of rape.  But what of going out for the evening with friends, and someone says, “One for the road?”  Or a friend has a birthday, and everyone is offered cake.  How easily do they take “No.” for an answer?  Are there any efforts to cajole you into saying “Yes”?

I read a cartoon recently that highlighted the need to teach this respect of someone’s right to say “No” from an early age.  Even my toddler deserves the right to decide whether he wants a kiss from mummy (though if he has clambered into my lap and stuck his hand down my top, I may not ask permission to kiss him).  Still, when I come home and ask “Can I have a kiss?”, if he says no I don’t give him one.  Respecting his right to say No teaches him that it’s a word of power.

Sometimes, though, I think we forget the power of Yes.

Try this little experiment.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, keep breathing slowly and deeply, and notice what is going on inside you right now.  Hopefully, if you’re not feeling particularly emotional, you will now have a sense of your “neutral”.

Next, keep breathing deeply, close your eyes, and start saying “No” out loud or in your mind.  Do this for at least 30 seconds, and allow yourself to just notice any thoughts, feelings or sensations that arise.  Where do you notice them in your body?

Finally, still breathing deeply, close your eyes again and start saying “Yes” out loud or in your mind.  Once more, stay with this for at least 30 seconds, observing what happens inside you.

Most people will have noticed a difference.  I certainly did when I tried this experiment.

When I said No, I started to feel angry and resentful!

When I said Yes, a smile came to my face 🙂

If you didn’t notice anything, you might want to ask yourself in what way you suppress your emotions, or are disconnected from your body…

Saying yes to life can help you feel more joyful, and positively impact your physical well-being, too.  Positive emotions drop your stress levels, drop your cortisol levels, and help you in a myriad of real, measurable ways.  It can help you sleep better, digest better, even improve your hair 😉

For myself, this experiment made me think about how often in the day I say no.  Seems to be rather a lot at the moment, with a toddler who delights in rubbing sticky fingers through my hair, running around naked, throwing himself on the floor for no apparent reason, and tipping his food on the floor for the fun of it 😮

Still, it also made me aware of how that makes me feel, and how it makes my toddler feel.  So, I have been consciously trying to change those No’s.  For instance, I try to say “Yes, I can see how much fun it is to experiment with textures, and I love that you’re a little scientist.  Can you try pouring the puree in a different bowl and seeing how much will fit in it?”

I don’t always manage it, but it feels good when I do!

It reminds me of an old family friend.  This is a lady in her eighties now.  She got divorced when that was still a big thing, fifty years ago or more.  After that, she made it her policy to never say no to a social invitation.  Did she meet lots of interesting people and have lots of adventures.  Certainly!  Did she end up going to some dire parties?  Maybe.  With that mindset, though, I bet she always managed to find something to feel joyful about 😀

So, this week, how about experimenting with the power of Yes?  I’d love to hear what you think, or what experiences you have…

Top 7 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

 

Sleep has been much on my mind this week, given my toddler has been getting me up anywhere from 3.30am!  So much for sleeping like a baby 😦

Everyone knows that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.  Less well-known is the fact that it’s used to get compromise in negotiations both political and corporate: ‘We have to keep at it until we agree something, no matter how long it takes!’  Certainly, I know I’ll agree to many things I would normally fight a bit harder when I’m exhausted: ‘Watch TV all morning?  Sure, just let me sit here quietly…’

Another connected aspect that relates more directly to wellness is the link between lack of sleep and weight gain.  Not only do you feel hungrier when you’re tired, and tend to have less energy and enthusiasm for exercise, but you also make poorer eating choices.

In particular, you’re more likely to reach for high carb options, for the quick energy.  Unfortunately, it’s not only chocolate, which  contains caffeine, that hampers your sleep.  Any high sugar food will give you a buzz that makes it harder to get to sleep, and keeps you in a lighter, less restful sleep.

So, what will help you sleep better and avoid these tempting pitfalls?

1) Protein

One thing that helps with cravings is to up your protein throughout the day.  Any protein is good, and eggs or chicken are some of the best, as they also contain tryptophan.  This is a building block to make melatonin, so it helps you produce the melatonin to regulate your sleep.  And there’s evidence that protein helps you feel more satiated, which also helps you sleep better and longer, rather than waking up because you’re hungry!

2) Warm Milk

Equally, the old idea of having warm milk before bed works in a couple of different ways.  Firstly, having something warm is more satiating, so you’re less likely to reach for something that will give you an unwanted buzz.  Secondly, it’s also got quite high amounts of tryptophan in it.

3) Herbal Teas

On the warm drink front, some herbal teas are also good.  For example, you could have a warm mug of chamomile tea or valerian, lavendar or lemon balm, and even peppermint. Although peppermint is often associated with energy, it does settle your stomach, so if indigestion plays any role in your sleep troubles, give it a go.

4) Read a Book

There was also some research recently which showed that even six minutes reading a book helps you unwind before bed in a way that TV doesn’t.  The notion is that you shut out the stresses of your day as you immerse yourself in what you’re reading.  Therefore, the researchers suggested that it doesn’t matter what you read, so long as you “get into it”.  Still, you won’t catch me reading something scary before bed, no matter how immersive.  After all, you don’t want to fall asleep easily, only to wake up with nightmares!

5) Yoga

A short, gentle yoga practice can also destress you, getting you into a better frame of mind to sleep.  It also helps prevent cramps and tingles in the night waking you up.  For this, the best option is something focused on seated poses, especially forward bends, which are considered the most calming poses.  Rotations are also excellent, wringing the tension from your muscles and activating the organs in your trunk.

6) Worry Journal

Write out your worries before you go to bed.  Externalising them in this way can help prevent those times of churning thoughts keeping you awake.

7) Meditation

Like reading, meditation can be a great way to de-stress at the end of the day.  Perhaps better yet is a guided meditation, focusing on relaxation and releasing worries.