Look After Your Mind with Control Panel
This is a visualisation technique based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical state and behaviours are all connected, so that the deliberate use of the imagination can have a positive effect on how we think, and what we think about, in order to modify the way we feel.
Visualisation steps to Look After Your Mind
The first step is to create your control panel on paper. Draw it in some detail, with the various controls associated with particular emotions, both positive and negative. So, for instance, you might have an on-off switch for anger, a slider for turning down anxiety, a dial for ‘turn- ing up’ a sense of calmness or self-confidence, and so on.
Don’t make the control panel too complicated because it’s important that you visualise it in its entirety. Incidentally, this technique works particularly well with children. Most of them that I’ve met have great imaginations and tend not to be sceptical or cynical.
Once your control panel is drawn and labelled, close your eyes and visualise it as clearly as you can. It’s best if you ‘turn up’ a pleasant feeling first before endeavouring to turn down any unwanted emotions. So, choose the appropriate control and do just that.
You might at the same time remember an occasion when you actually experienced that feeling. It’s at this point that doubt can creep in, so dampen down your scepticism, (you might want to create a control for that too!), and just notice what happens.
As with many visualisation techniques, practice is key: even if you think there was no change in your mood. Don’t give up but persevere with the technique, just for a few minutes each day.
Once you notice a difference using your chosen control, move on to another and go through the same process again. When you have tried all the controls and noticed positive changes, create a ‘Set All’ master button that locks the positive feelings in place.
Talk through your techniques
An extension of the technique is to bring the control panel to mind if you find yourself in an actual situation where it would be useful. If, when you’re out and about, you feel nervous or irritated or whatever, visualise the control panel, (do this with your eyes open if possible), manipulate the appropriate control and press the ‘Set All’ button again.
The technique also works well with a partner, talking through the creation and use of the control panel with him, or her, once you’ve gained benefit from the technique yourself.