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8 Ideas To Create Your Own Vision Board

8 Ideas To Create Your Own Vision Board

Imagine living a life you consider ideal and balanced. Sink into the desirable details of your job, your relationships and the hobbies you pursue. Revel in the fulfillment of your experience. What are you doing to make this exciting life happen? How is your future self different from you today? Paint a picture of all that you notice – colors, people, actions, places, feelings etc.

The process you just engaged in above is called visioning. This involves playing with our right brain to invoke creativity and imagination. It’s a process that often helps us get to the heart of what we desire, what holds value for us, and then prompts us into action from a space of aliveness and alignment.

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Does it work for real? Of course!

Quoting a study from Psychology Today, “Mental imagery impacts many crucial cognitive processes in the brain… The brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow.” Famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, and Jack Nicklaus are known to have employed visioning for their success.

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A practice for making visioning more real is creating vision boards, which are representations of our goals and dreams. At their core, these boards are a collage of images, words, and phrases that capture your dreams. The intent of this collage is to make you feel truly giddy, inspiring you into focused action.

Vision boards that are created from the space of receptivity form when we are open to messages that come when we ask for what is waiting to take shape. These visions can be in the form of colors, feelings, words, or sensations. Such vision boards are highly spontaneous and intuitive. The second kind of vision boards are created from the space of intention, where we look into our deepest longings and actively engage in exploring, expressing, and representing these desires through different means. This is a form of manifestation.

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Let’s look at what we can put on our vision boards that capture our dreams.

  1. Words have a mysterious way of impacting us. Whether the words describe feelings or echo states of being,  they all evoke experiences we have had or wish to have. Look at magazines to cut out words which describe how you want to be or what you want to feel. You can even write them in big, bold, colorful letters. My favorites are ‘curiosity’, ‘flourishing’ and ‘gratitude.’
  1. Quotes are great sources of mindset formation and effectively express an idea or experience in its entirety. No matter what the context in which the words were originally said, the impact of a good quote is timeless. The readers make it their own. Choose quotes which give rise to intense and accurate thoughts that match the state/experience you wish to arrive at or those which encapsulate your journey. These can be from your role models, favorite authors, teachers, or even something out of a song! You can even add poems.
  1. Self-Affirmations are different from quotes since you write these on your own, for yourself. They are aimed at changing one’s worldview and undoing limiting beliefs. Research suggests that they can minimize anxiety, stress, and defensiveness associated with threats to our sense of self, while having positive neuro-psychological effects and keeping us open to improvement. Create affirmations which start with “I am..” and challenge beliefs about money, success, ability, and skill. Write affirmations which go beyond what you think is possible and change the ‘cannot’ to ‘can’. Here are some affirmations you might find useful.

      Source: http://louisegale.com/2014/11/marakesh-dreams-art-retreat-adventure-in-morocco/

    1. Art or Doodles created by you are one of the best ways to strengthen your desired states. Since it is you who is representing your vision through imagery, there is no better way of owning it. You don’t have to be skilled in art to create doodles. You just have to be willing to play! You can doodle your life map, or just use colors to intuitively express your feelings without form. Draw your future successful self, in your dream job or taking your dream vacation. And if you are game for a creative risk, doodle your favorite quote or your own affirmation.
    1. Pictures are a wonderful alternative to the doodles, since they can snap you out of any hesitancy you might feel towards drawing. Depending on the vision you are working at fulfilling, you can put up images of associated people who are successful and images which evoke feelings you wish to experience (gratitude, joy, love, celebration, etc.). You can also find pictures which are exactly similar to those you see in your imagination. If you wish to increase the challenge, you can have pictures representing different actions you will take.

        Source: https://ruthchasefineart.files.wordpress.com/2013

      1. Souvenirs,as sources of inspiration, are highly potent. They can serve as reminders of your strengths, uniqueness, achievements, successful relationships, and positive associations. If there are souvenirs which you associate with the birth of a specific vision, those are the ones that must go on the board. You can have anything from name tags, appreciation notes, trinkets, key-chains, dry leaves, buttons, magnets, string lights, etc. The possibilities are endless. Just pick souvenirs which are pertinent.
      1. Goals and intentions form the basis of our visions. Put up the goals and intentions attached to your vision in creative ways. You can make an intention tree with the roots being the vision, the bark being your strengths, and the leaves being all the intentions you have to achieve the vision. You can also create a mixed media sun, with the large goal as the core and all possible actions as the rays.
      1. Lists can be fun if you make them so. Vision boards can include lists of gratitude, your bucket lists, motivational song lists, support system lists, and books to read for achieving the vision. List core practices or ideas, which help you step into the reality of your vision. Play with color, fonts, printing, or writing. The more vibrant you make it, the more appealing it will be.
        Source: 3 Wishes Creation from Etsy.com

        Vision boards are a work in progress and will evolve with your changing visions and dreams. But the best thing about this practice is that there is no wrong way to create a vision board. Remember, your vision board is a gift to you from your best self. So, it has the potential of being a deeply meditative experience as well. Filter out distractions, put on some calming music, and dive into the magic of visioning.

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        Featured photo credit: https://cosmicwobble.wordpress.com/tag/vision-board/ via cosmicwobble.wordpress.com

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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