We all know how it important it is to have the ability to focus. It’s crucial for just about every activity we engage in, but sometimes we lose it just when it’s needed most. In this article I’m going to share some of my favorite methods for achieving states of high concentration. You’ll find these exercises useful for creating vivid mental imagery.
Concentration is absolutely essential for creative visualization exercises
Improving concentration is the single easiest way to improve your mental imagery. When you allow your mind to focus without interruption, you’ll find that it naturally creates vivid scenarios. It can happen with ease once you allow the mind to do so.
Be sure to get enough sleep
If you can’t concentrate it could simply be a lack of sleep. If you are having trouble getting enough rest, you can always try visualizing right before you go to bed. A tired mind can produce mental imagery just fine – as long as you’re not thinking about anything else.
Visualizing before you go to sleep can be powerful. It can help you set goals for the following day and let you see how to follow through with them. By visualizing you will be thinking creatively, which can be more restful than occupying your mind with anxious thoughts.
You can also try to recoup some of that lost sleep through meditation. Studies show that meditation can help people who suffer from fatigue. There’s a link to the research on my Proven Benefits of Meditation article.
Aside from helping you feel less weary, meditation can also improve concentration. I wonder if those are somehow connected…
If you’re having trouble focusing, set a time limit
Sometimes too much freedom can work against you. When you sit down to visualize, your mind can be distracted if you have other things to get done. However, by simply giving yourself a set amount of time, you can cut out some of your mental chatter.
It might not be enough to say, “Okay, I’m going to visualize for the next 10 minutes” – actually set a timer. You’d be surprised how well this works. By physically setting a timer, you are doing two things 1) Committing yourself to the task then and there 2) Letting yourself know that this won’t interfere with other things you have to take care of.
Here is neat timer you can use to help with daily tasks (it works on both Mac and Windows): Focus Booster
Try creating a simple routine to help you visualize.
By setting up a routine you’ll create a healthy mental habit which automatically improves your visualization practice. Here are some quick tips that I recommend doing before sitting down to visualize.
- Get up and stretch – Take a moment to relax your body. This will help you get out of thinking mode and also relieves stress.
- Give yourself time to breath – Don’t jump right into visualization practice without preparing first. By taking a few deep gentle breaths you relax and focus your mind. (here are some simple breathing exercises you can practice)
- Get comfy – This probably goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning. If you have a nice spot to sit comfortably it can do your visualization practice wonders. Just practicing in the same spot every time will probably give your mind some cues about what’s expected.
That’s it. By following a few simple guidelines you can improve your visualization practice drastically. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple ritual.
If you’d like to read more on concentration and visualization exercises, then please read my article here on Simple Visualization Exercises