What comes to mind when you think about visualization exercises?
Does the simple phrase conjure up images of some woo-woo, fluffy mind game offered by a two-bit guru?
Or are you ready for the real deal from a guy who struggled to see pictures in his mind and almost failed, but…
… after hundreds of hours of struggle, finally found a way?
(I‘m that guy, by the way)
And what if I told you that I’ve discovered something profound about visualization?
Why Visualization Is Not Just About “Seeing Pictures” In Your Mind
I’ve discovered a simple process that suggests everything you thought you knew about “seeing pictures in your mind” is wrong?
Especially when it comes to memory techniques, the Memory Palace and everything related to mnemonics
There are at least 8 Magnetic Modes:
And “seeing” is just one of them!
Multiple Modes Of Visualization Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t “See” Mentally”…
Now that you know there are so many different ways to visualize, would you give few alternative visualization exercises a try?
If you said “yes,” or are at least nodding your head in the affirmative, that’s wonderful. Read on.
Did you know that visualization is so much more than meditation, and can actually serve you in your everyday life as a mature learner in a practical way?
Again, it’s more than seeing pictures in your mind.
The ability to conjure up mental pictures is a great skill. Some people with aphantasia can’t do it at all.
But let’s not disregard our other senses.
Visualization is at its most powerful when embedded in a multi-sensory experience.
Here are three exercises that show you exactly how:
3 Beginner Visualization Exercises Anyone Can Master
1. The Candle Exercise
Take a moment and close your eyes. Imagine that when you open them a candle has appeared in front of you.
- What size is the candle? Is it a tea candle, long-stem candle, three-wick candle?
- How heavy is it?
- How much of the candle has burned away? Has it burned down to the base or do you see it still newly lit?
- How far away is the candle from you? Within arm’s reach? Across the room?
The Lit Candle Variation
You can also try gazing into a lit candle then closing your eyes.
What do you see?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll experience an after burn effect.
You can no longer “see” the candle, but can still see its effects.
Using this after burn as a kind of canvas, mentally trace over the shape in front of you.
2. The Apple Visualization Exercise
Gradually you will be able to visualize, in great detail, a candle and flame of your own making.
We can take this simple visualization one step further and incorporate our other senses once we have mastered the “visual” aspect.
Try visualizing an apple.
Feel its smooth peel, observe its perfectly ripe sheen, and then imagine yourself taking a bite.
How does it taste?
Imagine its crispness and taste its sweetness.
The Interaction Variation
Take this apple visualization exercise further:
Follow the apple through your body as your entire digestive system interacts with it.
Don’t take this exercise too seriously or get too granular. Just play with the idea of being able to follow one bite of an apple through your system.
And ask yourself periodically as you go through the process:
The Negative Space Variation
Once you feel like you can move beyond seeing and feeling a simple, everyday object, try to visualize that object in relation to space in the room.
Imagine the corner of a table.
Where is it in the room? What is the negative space surrounding it?
Think of this exercise almost as an optical illusion.
We are all familiar with Rubin’s vase, though we may not know it by name.
This is the optical illusion where one can see either two faces or a singular vase from an image.
The key is being able to toggle between the two.
To be aware of the negative space as well as the image.
This exercise is helpful when using mnemonics, a Memory Palace and other memory techniques because we need to “suppress” mental imagery at the same time we manipulate it.
3. The Number Skipping Exercise
Think about this:
How abstract are numbers?
They are representations of concepts, right?
Take the number three, for example.
Three only “exists” when we conceptualize a group, or a set of objects, and call it three due to concept of three things we call “one” placed together.
How is three represented exactly?
Well, lots of ways. The Chinese character differs from the Roman numeral, which differs from the character 3.
Three is represented based on a mark society agrees it will call “3.” You can see the 3 your culture uses, or multiples versions used by multiple cultures.
You can also visualize one to 10, to 20, or even to 1,000.
Start with a small goal…
…but the goal is not to reach the highest number!
It’s to stay connected and concentrated in your mind.
If you find this becomes so easy that your mind is wandering, you can build up to higher and higher numbers, eventually going forwards and backwards.
And that’s when the real challenge begins:
I first encountered the idea of skipping numbers in Gary Weber’s Happiness Beyond Thought. This is such a simple idea, but yet it’s such a challenge.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
Visualize the number one.
Easy enough, right?
Now try to suppress the urge to visualize the number two.
Next, is three, correct?
Skip, or visualize a blank space in place of the number four.
Keep building, skipping numbers as you go.
Once you reach the highest number you can without losing concentration (say, for example, 10), then go in reverse. Visualize 9, skipping 8, 7, and skip 6, and continue on.
You may be asking “How is this useful? Isn’t this a bit counterintuitive? Am I not supposed to be visualizing? Why are you suddenly telling me to suppress visualization?”
The Negative Space Variation
Remember, for memory training one of the keys is Recall Rehearsal.
You will find ways to use memory palaces in different orders, and actually need to, and want to, for memory benefits, get the von Restorff Effect working.
You can shut down thoughts so that they do not interfere with other thoughts. This visualization exercise will undoubtedly aid you in further memory training.
In other words, the ability to not visualization helps you visualize because you can shut out competing images.
Speaking of further training…
The New Visualization Mastery Course in The MMM Masterclass!
If you’re still struggling to visualize when using memory techniques…
I just finished producing a powerful course that is already helping Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass students use mnemonics better.
This result happens because the Magnetic Imagery they use in their associations are far stronger than ever before.
Do you want that?
Do you want to “own” any information every time you place it in your brain?
Cool. I can help.
But take caution:
As we’ve discussed today…
It’s not that easy if you’re only using visualization techniques to “see” pictures in your mind.
The solution begins when people take things to the next level of use a kind multi-sensory visualization approach.
And in this new course, Visualization Mastery…
I didn’t JUST come up with these exercises out of nowhere.
I did it with the help of dozens of memory athletes, memory experts like John Graham, thousands of MMM students and hundreds of hours of my own practice.
In this course, Visualization Mastery, you get the insights, skills, and ability to develop the strongest mental imagery for your Memory Palace efforts ever…
And the calm confidence that tells your brain that you’re serious about memorizing information quickly, efficiently and permanently.
This course in visualization and visualization meditation includes:
- Video 1: Multi-Sensory Projecting
- Video 2: Exercises for Conceptual Visualization
- Video 3: “Details” Exercises For Multi-Sensory Self-Study
- Video 4: Visualization Meditations
- Video 5: Auditory-Visual Exercises
- Video 6: Mental Rehearsal Exercises
- Video 7: Conclusion & Next Steps
For more information, here’s the course trailer:
If you’re already in the MMM Masterclass, please login now to take the course.
Or, if you’d like access this special training course and much, much more, you can read all about the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass here.
The Bottom Line When It Comes To Effective Visualization For Memory Improvement
Complete these visualization exercises regularly and consistently. Don’t expect results from just one session.
Also, mix and match these exercises. For example, try number skipping with candles or apples, both forward and in reverse.
Really, the sky’s the limit here. The more you play with this visualization exercise, the more benefits you will receive and the more ideas for more brain exercises will emerge.
Above all, keep challenging yourself and your memory for growth. It’s when we stop getting brain exercise that we go downhill. These visualization exercises will help you keep moving forward.