By Anney Ardiel, Certified Professional Consultant on Aging and owner of Act Together Moving Services
If you are struggling to face a coming move and dreading the future in your new home, visualization exercises can help you stop imagining the worst and start focusing on the outcome you desire: a smooth, stress-free move.
Why Visualization Can Help
Although experts say one of the best ways to achieve what you want for a future outcome is to use visualization techniques, I rarely meet anyone who is visualizing in a positive way about moving. Most people shudder in horror and try not to think about it until absolutely forced into facing the reality of moving and especially downsizing.
The amazing thing about visualization is that as we imagine the desired outcome mentally and savour it with all of our senses, our brain begins to build neurological pathways towards those outcomes. Visualization can lead to an outcome that reflects your mental images, whether they are positive or negative.
Step One: Outcome Visualization
Why not take control of the outcome by creating positive images of the future you desire?
Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Imagine yourself walking in the door to your new place. Imagine that your move went very smoothly and finished ahead of schedule so you feel hugely relieved.
Now spend a few seconds on each though as you close your eyes and take calming breaths:
- Smell how clean and fresh the air is in your new place
- Hear pleasant music playing on your stereo and hear two friendly neighbours saying hello.
- Feel your daughter’s/friend’s warm hug as she greets you to your new home.
- Hear the love in her voice when she praises how well you managed, how lovely your furniture looks and how nicely everything fits.
- Look around. Yes, she’s right! The place looks (fill in your desired outcome: elegant, cosy, spacious, warm, cool, tasteful, familiar, new, etc. ).
- Sip the cup of tea she made in your organized kitchen. It’s just the way you like it, warm and soothing. Notice she had no trouble finding the tea bags, tea pot and mugs because everything is exactly where it should be.
- Go lie down on your freshly made bed and take a nap, you deserve it!
These mental images will not appeal to everyone so you’ll have to create your own list of wonderful, motivating mental images to focus on during your visualization exercises. If you need help at first, ask a friend to sit with you and read you the list one at a time, pausing to give you time to visualize each mental image.
Step Two: Process Visualization
Once you have practiced the Outcome Visualization technique enough to have a very clear image of how you want your moving day to go, you can also use Process Visualization to help you stay focused and motivated through the tough pre-move work. This exercise helps you envision a future outcome where all the hard work of moving gets done on time, extremely well, the way you want it.
Imagine you are standing in the main room of your home, preparing for move day. You’ve still got lots of time to get all the move preparation done so you feel calm. Now spend a few seconds on each though as you close your eyes and take calming breaths:
- See all the treasures and curios you’ve collected over the years on your travels and from loved ones. Let your eyes savour the bounty of your past.
- Imagine yourself sitting down in your favorite comfortable chair, holding a pen and notepad. Feel the pen glide across the paper as you write down a list of the things you will take to your new place. At first it’s hard for you to make decisions but soon your list marches down the page.
- Now imagine yourself picking up the phone and speaking to someone in your family or community. Hear yourself offering to give them an item (dining room table? Lawn mower?) you can’t keep yourself. You can hear in their voice how excited they are that you’ve offered them such a wonderful gift. Hear them ask you when can they come pick it up.
- Pick up the floor plan for your new place that has your furniture drawn to scale and hold it in your hands. It’s marvelous how everything is going to fit so nicely with plenty of room to maneuver.
- Walk into the other room and run your hand along the stacks of boxes that have been packed with books, clothes, pictures and all the household stuff you are keeping. Read the labels on each box. The stack of boxes is orderly and ready to move.
- Hear the admiration your daughter’s/friend’s voice as she exclaims over all the hard work you’ve done. You thank her for all the help she gave you with sorting your clothes and running moving errands for you. Give her a big hug!
- Take a deep breath and smell that wonderful odor of clean. How smart of you to hire a cleaning company so your move out cleaning is all taken care of by professionals.
Again, this list is a starting place for you. Customize your own list of images that evoke the best possible outcome so you counter every fear with positive images.
There Will Be Bumps on the Road
As you encounter obstacles along the way such as negative people warning you about horrible moving disasters, or if you’re feeling down after a setback, re-calibrate your visualization by running through these exercises again. Feel free to add new images to your list as they occur to you.
It’s also a good idea to share your vision of the desired outcomes you have for your move. If your friends share your vision then they will support you and encourage you to stay on track with your goals.