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The Power of Visualization in Recovery: Part 2

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

While there is certainly plenty of evidence that visualization can help people achieve their goals in recovery, there are various recommended techniques to try. Everyone will ultimately find what works best for them, and many will use several methods concurrently. Achieving a level of comfort with visualization may take some practice, but the benefits are plentiful!

1. Envision the finish line

This technique is simple and may seem obvious, but it’s often the best for beginners. Picturing a scenario where a goal is ultimately achieved can conjure powerful motivation. Paying close attention to details such as the weather on that day, the colors of the outfit that will be worn, the people in attendance, and the sounds and smells in the surrounding environment are all essential factors. These illustrative ideas take a goal from merely a concept to an actual future event, even if it’s only in the mind’s imagination…for now.

2. Establish motivators

Whether it’s a song that gets the blood pumping or a prayer that inspires, selecting a collection of positive triggers that will engage the mind and body can initiate visualization. It’s suggested that time be spent choosing the right sensory input, like a musical playlist, motivational podcast, or chant. Using this stimulus while visualizing future aspirations creates a personal soundtrack. High-intensity performers like athletes, for example, tend to use this technique often. They listen to a particular set of songs while they train, and on game day, their mind plays the beats internally as they rehearse their ideal outcome.

3. Mock up an award or reward

Once the goal is achieved, what will the accolades look like? Will it be a framed certificate? What kind of frame will it be in when it goes on the wall? Which wall will it be displayed on? This can work for many different types of goals. For people losing weight, what is the ultimate outfit that will show off all the hard work invested? If it’s a recovery milestone celebrating sobriety time, how will it be celebrated? Looking forward to a reward like a spa day, a fancy restaurant meal, or even something small like purchasing a necklace charm or similar meaningful memento can inspire success. It doesn’t hurt to research exactly what the award or reward should be ahead of time!

4. Create a vision board

Once popularized by creative teens in the 80s and 90s, vision boards are a fantastic way to put visualization on paper. These kids were onto something when they spent weeks cutting out phrases and pictures from magazines and newspapers to assemble a colorful and visually stimulating collage of everything related to their visions. Thankfully, in the internet age, these images can be put together virtually on apps like Pinterest, with no scissors or glue required. However, scrolling an app page can feel impersonal and too easy for some. Making an actual physical vision board is half the fun! Putting in the effort to collect inspiring tokens and arranging them how the mind sees fit is a personal time investment towards the commitment required to achieve the goal.

Recovery Services of New Mexico offers medication-assisted treatment for those looking to address their addiction in a convenient outpatient setting. To learn more about the comprehensive programs available, message or call the nearest RSONM location today and speak with the compassionate and knowledgeable staff prepared to help patients take the first step towards visualizing a healthy future free of substance misuse.


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