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Imagine: Your Best Possible Self

by Victor Perton

Visualisation and daydreaming are powerful human tendencies.  They are very healthy and can be harnessed to make you more optimistic and more infectiously optimistic.

Experiment:  Visualise your best possible self and imagine a future in which all your goals have been achieved.   The experts suggest writing it down.  Personally, I keep it in a document on my computer which I review once a month.  There’s good evidence that it is a way of lifting yourself and those around you.  Try it now.

Another Experiment: Set aside about 15 minutes and write about a future day in your life in which you have accomplished everything you desire. Then spend five minutes imaging that reality. Practising this every now and again is said to significantly improve your positive feelings, your feelings of optimism and the infectiousness of your optimism.

This may stimulate you to develop a better personal strategy and action plans to achieve those dreams. 

Read more on "The Habits of the Optimist"

More Insights on "Your Best Possible Self" Exercises

Dr. Tom Muha, Psychologist

The Best Possible Self positive psychology exercise is one of the most recognized methods for boosting happiness. Researchers find it has long-term effectiveness and people report that it’s immediately beneficial. The exercise has been shown to boost people’s positive emotions, happiness levels, optimism, hope, improve coping skills, and elevate positive expectations about the future.

Here are the steps for creating your vision of you at your best:

  • Take a few minutes to select a future time period (e.g., 6 months, 1 year, 5 years from now) and imagine that at that time you are experiencing your best possible self. Visualize your best possible self in a way that is very pleasing to you and that you are passionate about pursuing.
  • Imagine in vivid detail that you have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing your life goals. You might think of this as reaching your full potential, hitting an important milestone, or realizing one of your life dreams. The point is not to think of unrealistic fantasies such as winning the Superbowl, but rather, things that are positive and attainable within reason.
  • After you have a fairly clear image, write about the details. Writing down your best possible self helps to create a logical structure for the future and can help you move from the realm of foggy ideas and fragmented thoughts to concrete, real possibilities.

Jakob WeitzerKyriaki PapantoniouClara Lázaro‐Sebastiàn, Stefan SeidelGerhard KlöschEva Schernhammer

"Dispositional optimism can be promoted through training. A meta‐analytic review of 29 studies concluded that psychological interventions can increase dispositional optimism, and that the strongest effect was achieved when applying the Best Possible Self method."

Read "Dispositional optimists Sleep Better and have a Lower Risk of Insomnia: Austrian Study 2020"

Susan Shain in "How to Be More Optimistic"

Imagine your dream life in 10 years — what would it look like? How would it feel? Now sit down and write about it: once a week, for six to eight minutes, for one or two months. Spend each session focusing on your “best possible self” in a single domain, such as family, career, romance or health.

Though it might sound like wishful thinking, dozens of studies show that imagining your ideal future can actually boost your levels of optimism.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside and author of “The How of Happiness,” has employed this exercise with hundreds of subjects. It works, she said, because you’re strengthening your “optimistic muscles” by “thinking about all your dreams coming true as opposed to worrying about the worst possible outcome.”

Kira M. Newman, the Greater Good Science Center

Luckily, research suggests that optimism is something we can cultivate - by practicing gratitude, envisioning our “Best Possible Self,” or doing certain types of therapy. And that makes the future look a little bit rosier.

in How Optimism May Keep You Alive Longer

 Sandee LaMotte, CNN

One of the most effective ways to increase optimism, according to a meta-analysis of existing studies, is called the "Best Possible Self" method, where you imagine or journal about yourself in a future in which you have achieved all your life goals and all of your problems have been resolved.

Irene O'Garden

Pilot your imagination. Our imagination is our primary instrument of creativity. It has such a powerful effect on our behavior that some people make it their life’s work to hijack it for their own purposes or profits. But the ship and the ship’s wheel are ours. Use your strong desire as fuel and steer it into the physical life you want to create. Nothing fortifies our optimism more than creating the world we want, one action at a time. For example, I love when a cashier gives me back too much change. The world I want to create is peopled with honest folk, so I always return it. “You’re so honest,” they say. What’s fun is that not only have I reinforced an honest world for myself, but I have created tangible evidence for another person, thus expanding that honest world. We can constantly build our stash of evidence for ourselves and others.

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