When we read the news and hear about COVID-19, economic recession, protests, and divisions it can be hard to remain hopeful. Everywhere we look it seems that the world is falling apart, and that we are completely helpless as individuals to do anything to stop it. This negativity can us to get stuck in depression, fear, and anxiety, which makes it harder to take positive steps to make a change. Sometimes hopelessness can end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, your mind is a powerful organ. We really do create our reality. Visualising the future has been found to increase confidence, motivation, and motor performance. So if you replace fears and anxieties with imagining a positive outcome, it not only helps you feel more happy, and hopeful, it can actually come true too!
Here are some suggestions to make it happen.
Writing Your Future Self
Draw your focus away from worries and fears, and imagine what you’d like to see both in your individual life, and the world at large. Write down where you picture yourself at the beginning of 2021. What went well as the year 2020 came to a close? In what financial position are you in as the year begins? Who are the friends and loved ones that surround you, and what kind of social life do you have? How is your health and living arrangements?
Use all of the five senses to vividly create your future. If anything’s been troubling you recently, then visualise the issues perfectly solved by the beginning of 2021. Write it all down in as much detail as possible.
Now repeat this exercise thinking of humanity as a whole. How has life on earth changed for the better?
If you would like to imagine further ahead you can repeat this exercise for 5 or 10 years ahead.
Often our negativity comes from concern about the future, which makes meditation such a powerful practise. When you meditate you become more focused on the present moment. By continually bringing your attention back to your breathing, you draw it away from catastrophizing about the future. Think of meditating regularly (daily if possible), as like preparing the soil for sowing the seeds for imagining your future.
You can also try a specific meditation for focusing on achieving goals and creating the kind of life you want. Using the visualisation you wrote, close your eyes and imagine it in your mind’s eye. Experience it as if you were really there. Here is a more detailed meditation from Deepak Chopra to help guide you through the process.
Expressing gratitude is another practise that can help you focus on the good in your current life. This can help turn down the volume on your future concerns. Try writing down 3 gratitudes each day, or more if you have time. Keep your notebook around and every time you find your thoughts take a negative turn, write down a few things you are grateful for.
Life is complicated but sometimes happiness lies in the most simple of solutions. Make a playlist of feel-good songs, and put it on whenever you feel low, and have a dance. Some of my favourite upbeat songs are Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves, Happy by Pharrell Williams, and Lovely Day by Bill Withers. For visualisation purposes nothing beats Imagine by John Lennon.
So whenever you find yourself feeling down, take a look at this list, and try out some suggestions. Share it with a friend, and spread the feel good vibrations. Together we can imagine a new reality and bring it to life!