How do you use your Imagination?
Your imagination is a “power tool”. Like any powerful tool you can use it to create wonderful things but also to cause great damage. We don’t generally talk much about how we use our imagination unless we work in an obviously “Creative” field such as The Arts, Theatre, Film or Writing. Success often rewards those with strong intellect, memory and rationality. But the way we use our imagination has a massive effect on how our lives develop – regardless of the type of work we do.
Every single product started as someone’s vision
Look around the room. Every single product you can see – including the screen you are looking at right now, the clock on the wall, the chair you are sitting on – every single man-made item started out as a vision in some person’s mind. Of course, rationality, knowledge, planning and a host of other resources were required before the vision could be realised in physical form. But it started out in someone’s imagination. Napoleon Hill famously said: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.
Mis-using your Imagination
It should be no surprise to us that those people who struggle most with issues such as Depression and Anxiety are often those who work in the most creative fields. Writers are known to be prone to depression. This is because successful writers spend a lot of time inside their heads, relatively isolated from the outside world and even from friends and family for long periods. If you have developed a strong and active imagination then it becomes easier to both use and to abuse this power tool. If you use your imagination primarily to worry about what may happen in the future – then in reality you are misusing one of your most powerful resources.
Worry – A Payer For What You Don’t Want
Obviously, it pays to be prepared – and anxiety is really important at certain times. It is a form of worry or anxiety which tells us to check for traffic before we cross a road – anxiety keeps us safe. If you have ever been driven in a car by a driver who has no sense of anxiety you will know it can be a terrifying experience. But anxiety is only useful when it informs action. Once we have acted in response – then any further worry is serving no useful purpose. With enough practice you can end up checking the locks a dozen times before you leave the house, or washing your hands obsessively in case they are not completely free of germs. People who suffer in this way (and there are more than you might imagine!) rarely choose it – but the end result can be profoundly disabling.
How to stop worrying?
The trouble with worrying on a regular basis is that it can quickly become a habit. At first it feels as if it is useful and keeps us safe, but it can rapidly spiral into a destructive habit. So how can you stop it? If you say to yourself “Stop Worrying” – at a subconscious level your mind has to unpack whatever “worrying” means to you – and straight away you are at risk of doing the very thing that you were trying to avoid. Try this exercise: Right now, do not think about a purple frog. Do NOT picture its kermit-like eyes. Definitely DO NOT picture its powerful purple legs, as it prepares to jump. What are you doing? They very opposite of what was suggested. This is why it is so difficult to stop smoking (or stop anything for that matter) by focusing on the smoking. It is much more effective to use a different approach.
They are many ways to stop worrying – I’m only going to offer a single example here. But this is a subject that fascinates me and I have a lot of experience helping people to overcome this particular habit. If you want other suggestions for what might work for you please get in contact.
So here is one quick and effective way to stop mis-using your imagination:
http://www.in8.uk.com/information-resources/7-11-breathing/ It takes some dedication and practice at first, and you need to stick with it every day for at least a week before you start to feel the full benefit – but it is a skill definitely worth mastering.