There’s often a lot of pressure around the new year to overhaul one’s diet, get fit, save for retirement, to change jobs or be a better parent. This is why we usually wait until the first or second quarter to create ours. It’s a great time to check in and see what is and what isn’t working in our lives. Plus there’s still time to get clear on what the rest of the year could look like. Let inspiration be the fuel you need as you strive to attain the next level of success.
When did vision boarding begin?
Vision boarding became popular in the early aughts, somewhat in conjunction with the 2007 movie The Secret about the Law of Attraction, but it has roots further back than that. In fact, collage was a popular art form whose composition of parts (photos, newspaper clippings, and pieces of fabric, for example) was often glued onto a surface to create a whole new expression. We started making collages (or vision boards, as it’s now known) back in high school and would clip images and words from magazines that fit goals we had or just plain inspired us.
Beyond inspiration and pretty collection of images, is there a scientific benefit to making vision boards?
In a Forbes article, neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart says, “[if you] look at it daily and visualize it coming true, this tracks images to your sub-conscious and primes your brain to grasp opportunities that may otherwise have passed you by.” The other key part of what she calls an ‘action board’ is taking a small step towards our goal everyday so that “you’ll be transforming abundance thinking into reality.”
What is the purpose and benefit of making a vision board?
An important purpose of vision boarding includes activating the powerful faculties within us: imagination and visualization. Often, part of the educational process (and beyond, into our jobs) strips these skills away from us in favor of recitation and regurgitation of facts and figures. Activate the skills of your brain’s right hemisphere – home of creativity, imagination, and artistic ability – by sparking a bit of creativity and learning how to dream and have a little fun again.
Early on in our sessions, every client fills out a circle of life handout. This assessment looks a bit like a wheel with a bunch of spokes, some of which are labeled “home environment” and “relationships;” then there’s a spot with the word “creativity.” As clients complete this exercise, there’s an awareness brought to the areas of life that aren’t working for them or aspects they’d like to enhance. Creativity is typically one of those areas. Even those who profess themselves to be the antithesis of artistic can find that creativity exists in so many forms. Increase your happiness and productivity by boosting your creativity:
1. Find an absorbing, slightly challenging pastime that allows you to feel some mastery – could be singing, a lively debate or conversation, rock-climbing, creating a story, piano playing, or wood-working. In the state of flow, psychologists say, you forget yourself as you merge yourself with the task; this can also lead to higher self-esteem.
2. Let your ideas FLOW before you try to filter them. Not everything we dream up will be a smashing idea. The purpose and process of brainstorming can lead to several great sparks; however, if we censor them on the outset, we are less likely to find a successful solution or experience a stroke of brilliance.
3. Silence!? While too much noise can distract from your creative process, ambient noise (think coffeehouse-level at 65-70 decibels) can be beneficial. Consider listening to some theta brain wave music to get into a flow.
4. Daydreaming & following your thoughts. Contradictory to the idea that day-dreaming is something we are supposed to outgrow, it has been hailed as important to creative thinking (by none other than Sigmund Freud, for example). No matter where they wander, playing follow-the-leader with your thoughts can improve your mental performance according to a Psychological Science study. The perfect anti-dote to willful focus on a task is daydreaming. Think of it as a brain HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout!
5. Body movement = brainstorms! Exercise gets blood flowing to your brain and even 20-30 minutes can be enough to give your brain a boost for more innovative thoughts. Bonus: playing with a child often involves physical activity and creating stories to go along with the toys.