Last month we spoke about how ‘butterflies emerge from Cocoons’ in terms of how we can come out of this period of isolation stronger, more energetic, and ready to fly. This is a huge part of what we do at The DMC Clinic in our normal course of business. Working with clients to ‘be the best they can be’, or ‘self-actualise’. As discussed previously, seeing a therapist is not simply a place to come to deal with trauma or grief or perceived negative aspects. It is also a place to come for personal development, self-improvement, and attainment of goals. Often I find that people who present with feelings of anxiety and confusion turn out to be seeking positive change in their lives in the area of self improvements.
So how do we do this? We do not need to wait for lock down to end to begin this work. One simple way to begin is through ‘visualisation’. I believe we all could benefit from ‘re-imagining’ ourselves as we emerge from isolation. Ask a simple question? Do you want life to continue exactly as it was before? Were you 100% happy with how you were living pre-Covid. If you are, then I envy you, and I wholeheartedly hope that you achieve this state again! I personally feel that there are little changes and tweaks that I can make to how I approach things and I’m trying to ‘re-imagine’ myself as the best possible person that I can be.
Of course, it helps if this visualisation is kept within the bounds of something achievable and realistic (for example, I need to now accept that I’m not going to be an inter-county GAA star no matter how much I visualise it!). For me it is best to avoid the big audacious Hollywood style ‘I have a dream deep down in my heart!’ type of goal. When too much focus is given toward one long term mission, you may miss the smaller shiny opportunities in the corner of your eye. Research has found that visualisation and positive imagery is beneficial in reduction of anxiety, panic attacks, and mild depression, but it also a key tool in helping people achieve their own personal goals.
By re-imagining ourselves using mental imagery or visualising what we want in our lives, we can be provided with a clearer focus. From a personal development perspective, the combination of vision, focus and energy (hopefully people will be recharged somewhat after this slight pause in our lives) is a potent formula to lead to a healthier, happier, improved sense of self.
How does this work? (here comes the science bit again…sorry!!). There are numerous books and papers written that outline how Neuroscience can change behaviour and how visualisation can impact our neural pathways. Describing it in language that I understand, we can re-train or re-wire our brains to be more positive. People are using this in sport, in business and in medicine for years, but only recently is there recognition that this can be applied to our daily lives. That we are much more likely to make changes and improvements when they are borne out of positive emotions and behaviours.
At The DMC Clinic we can help enable you on your personal development journey by providing the skills and tools that help enable self-improvement. But you can also start right now. This ‘pause’ that has been in place during the pandemic affords us time to begin this work. Hopefully that through visualising a better version of ourselves, we will notice small improvements within a short period of time. I’m convinced that we can all become better colleagues, family parents, better friends to each other, and most importantly better friends to ourselves.
The article is written by Noel, Trainee Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.