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Negative Visualization: A Technique That Will Help You Appreciate What You Have
Psychology

Negative Visualization: A Technique That Will Help You Appreciate What You Have

Gratitude is one time-tested emotion that works well for positive thinking. It's what keeps you happy. However, it is also the most forgotten emotion. That's why thousands of years ago, philosophers like Epictetus used a technique called 'Negative Visualization' to practice gratitude. The idea is to visualize negative things happening to you and appreciate what you have today.

Visualize 'What if'
According to this technique, you contemplate what you possess and imagine or visualize your life without those things. For instance, visualize your life without your current job, or your life partner or say imagine suffering from health disorders. You can go on and on like that. Basically, you ask 'what if'. This exercise helps you appreciate what you have, be it your family or friends or for that matter even the city you live in.

Gratitude is not when you say thanks to someone. It is when you are truly thankful to what you have. This is not about what you show the world, it is about truly counting your blessings.

Author William B Irvine in his book, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy says, "The Stoics recommended that we spend time imagining that we have lost the things we value—that our wife has left us, our car was stolen, or we lost our job. Doing this, the Stoics thought, will make us value our wife, our car, and our job more than we otherwise would. This technique—let us refer to it as negative visualization—was employed by the Stoics at least as far back as Chrysippus. It is, I think, the single most valuable technique in the Stoics' psychological tool kit."

It stops you from taking things for granted

You take things for granted and that is the reason you worry for small unimportant things. For instance, how many times do you feel that you are blessed to have both hands? You don't. You have taken if for granted. Even when you see someone on the streets without hands, you only feel bad for that person and not how lucky you are to have them. That is when negative visualization helps. Imagine losing your hands to accident. Imagine how life would be if you didn't have hands. When you do so, you will value what you have. You will know how blessed you are.

(Also read: How You Reprogramme Your Brain To Be More Positive )

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

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