Live Chat!


Live Chat!
[Photo: Reinhard Hunger for Fast Company]

The New Habit Challenge: Can We Reduce Stress By Visualizing The Future?

Join our resident habit expert Rachel Gillett, other Fast Company staff, and mindfulness expert Scott Eblin on Friday, January 23 at 11 a.m. ET as we discuss what happened when we put positive visualization to the test.

You’re the next one up to present at your company’s all-hands meeting, and you’re nervous. You keep thinking of the million and one ways you could screw up and all the little details you don’t want to forget. In that moment, failure, you feel, is imminent.

But what if instead of imagining yourself stuttering and stumbling over your words, you see yourself standing tall, commanding the room, speaking eloquently and convincingly. You see people around the room nodding in agreement and leaning in to soak up every last word.

Creating this picture in your mind of what your success will look like is part of a process of clearing mental clutter that starts with asking yourself two questions: First, "What am I trying to do?" And second, "How do I need to make that happen?"

Asking yourself these questions, says Scott Eblin, author of Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative, is the kind of mindfulness you need to overcome your worry.

Eblin believes that visualizing a positive outcome and what it will take to get there can keep you focused on what’s in front of you, rather than the constant mental chatter. This in turn raises your confidence level and reduces anxious thoughts about the future.

But simply picturing yourself succeeding won’t guarantee a win other experts say. Visualizing success moves beyond simply picturing a win and requires you to focus on what you can control—the process.

For this week's habit challenge, a few of us at Fast Company are putting visualizing to the test. Whenever we're overcome with worry and a flurry of negative thoughts, we will first ask ourselves about what we're trying to do and how we can make that happen. Next we'll visualize ourselves accomplishing the steps we need to take for success.

Join us here at 11 a.m. ET on Friday, January 23, when we’ll be chatting live with Eblin about how to use visualization to our advantage, to find out how it went for us, share your thoughts, and ask us questions.

Did you visualize the future this week to overcome your mental clutter? Tell us about your experience in the "make a comment" box below and join in the discussion on Friday.