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Positive thinking is a learnable skill and in case we feel trapped in an unpleasant situation, all we have to do is to envisage an ideal future for ourselves. As the saying goes, 'seeing is believing’ and thus visualization may help us to find and focus on goals and aspirations.

Visualization involves creating images, whether in mind or physically creating them, which show a direction to regain balance in any adversity. In this regard, without even realizing, our subconscious mind programs our mindset for recovery, paving the way to resilience.

When an adverse situation emerges, the key is to try focusing on positive outcomes rather than on fears. In this regard, when we visualize, we improve our mental conception of what we are trying to manifest; once we have the images and visions in mind, related emotions are showing up to motivate us reaching for these goals.

Maintaining a hopeful outlook is something we can control with the practice of visualization. What is more, visualization and action are two complementary views, not conflicting; we cannot do one without the other because mental preparation and inspired action are both necessary for a hopeful outlook.

The two mindsets by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University | Image credit SAFETY4SEA

Tips for being optimistic and hopeful

#1 Create a ‘Vision Board’

Either a real one or online, a vision board including images and motivational quotes needs a prominent place

#2 Live your life "As if"

Fake it till you make it; keep your goals in the back of your head but also think and act as if they've already been achieved

#3 See the glass as half full

For each negative thought that you have just made, think of three positive thoughts instead

#4 Visualize your ’Goal Board’

Every night when you go to sleep, spend about two minutes picturing your goals and then again do it as first thing in the morning

5 steps for creative visualization

Step 1: Translate goals into words and pictures

Q: If I had nothing holding me back, what exactly would I want to see in my life?

Step 2: Start visualizing and create the emotions

Q: How would I feel if all my visualizations came true?

Step 3: Make visualization a daily part of your life

Q: What could I do today to get closer to the life I envisage?

Step 4: Have perseverance and passion for your goals

Q: What would help me persevere when I am faced with a challenge?

Step 5: Work hard to achieve your goals

Q: What would be the key actions to achieve what I have envisaged?

How to get better at visualizing

Here are some of the most effective tips for improving your technique:

  1. Set the mood: try to be in a relaxed and positive state of mind during process
  2. Enter a meditative state: focus on slow and steady breathing few minutes before
  3. Involve every sense: ask yourself not only what you see but also what you smell, hear, and feel
  4. Enjoy it : this is vital for using visualization to your advantage and developing a positive outlook