How to Use Visualization Meditation to Achieve Your Goals

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It can be easy to feel overwhelmed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether it’s keeping up with your Sunday routine, tackling work reports, or just remembering to walk the dog, just staying afloat can feel tough. Practicing meditation in your daily life can help you stay focused in the face of life’s distractions so you can stay focused on what’s important to you. 

Visualization meditation can be an especially useful tool on your journey of self-mastery. Keep reading to learn more about how this technique can help you achieve your goals—whatever they may be.

What is Visualization Meditation?

what do you do in visualization meditation? infographic: how visualization meditation works.
1. picture images or symbols
2. focus on past, present, and future
3. attain clarity in judgments or actions

Visualization meditation involves picturing scenery, symbols, or other peaceful or motivating imagery as part of your meditation practice. This could be as simple as seeing yourself cross the finish line for a marathon you’re training for or imagining a complex storyline about meeting your future self. 

Visualization meditation can help you cultivate mindfulness, but it differs from mindfulness meditation in two key ways: timing and intention. Mindfulness meditation is all about becoming aware of the present moment and noticing things as they are without judgment. Visualization meditation may deal with the current moment, but it often involves imagining a future goal, seeing a future scenario work out in your favor, or picturing yourself live out your dreams. Many people use visualization meditation to feel more prepared for the future; a way to align themselves with who they wish to be in the years ahead.

The Power of Visualization Meditation

It’s no secret that visualization benefits the human psyche. That’s why you often hear about notable people who practice it. Michael Phelps used visualization to mentally prepare himself for different scenarios he’d encounter in the Olympics, and Oprah Winfrey credits her manifestations about The Color Purple as the reason she was cast in the movie.

What are the benefits of visualization meditation?

Scientific research also backs up visualization’s benefits. Brain studies icon-trusted-source Pub Med “Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills” View Source show that thoughts can stimulate the same brain regions as actions. 

Visualization has been found to icon-trusted-source American Journal of Nursing “BODY-MIND-SPIRIT: The Benefits of VISUALIZATION” View Source :  

  • Promote relaxation
  • Enhance sleep 
  • Reduce pain 
  • Increase creativity 
  • Improve athletic performance 
  • Relieve anxiety 
  • Improve mood

3 Ways to Practice Visualization Meditation

How do I start practicing visualization meditation?

We recommend starting with guided meditations for visualization. You can find these online or in meditation apps. After trying a few guided meditations, you may have fun creating your own visualization meditation scripts. 

Before you begin your meditation, make sure to:

  • Find a comfortable position   
  • Remove as many distractions as possible 
  • Set aside enough time (usually at least 10 minutes) 

Once you’re ready to go, try out one of the following visualization meditation techniques and see what happens! These techniques are our variation of popular meditation scripts. Feel free to practice them as presented or apply your own interpretation.

1. Meeting Your Future Self

technique for visualization meditation: meeting your future self. Great for: clarity, goal setting

This visualization can be helpful if you’re feeling stuck, burned out, or unsure of what to do next. By envisioning your future self, you can gain insight into what’s important to you, an ideal direction for your life, and what goals you may need to set to get there.

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Begin by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths.
  • Once your breathing and heart rate slow down, envision yourself in the future—a version that reflects exactly who you’d like to be.
  • Notice what your future self is wearing, how they hold themselves, what they are doing, and any other details that spring forward. 
  • Notice how your future self feels about themself and the types of relationships they have. 
  • Imagine beginning in a conversation with this future version of yourself. What would they want you to know? 
  • You may find it useful to imagine your future self giving you a gift. What’s inside the gift box when you open it? 
  • If you asked your future self to describe their life in 3 words, what would they say?
  • You can remain with your future self as long as you like. Once you gain the clarity and focus you need, you can shake hands (or hug!) and part. 
  • Come back to this vision whenever you need additional insight. 

2. Color Breathing

technique for visualization meditation: color breathing: great for stress and mood regulation | visualization meditation

If you’re using visualization to reduce stress and regulate your mood, you may enjoy color breathing. In this exercise, think of one thing you’d like more of in your life and one thing you want less of. These can be emotions, skills, or even material objects. It’s normal for several things to come to mind all at once, but try to stick to one thing to attract and one thing to let go of.

Once you have your targets, here’s how to do it:  

  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. 
  • Imagine the thing you want more of in your life. If it were a color, what color would it be? 
  • On each inhale, imagine this color flowing into your body. You may imagine it flowing through your veins or slowly filling in your silhouette from your toes to the top of your head. 
  • As you exhale, think of the one thing you want less of in your life. What color would this be? 
  • Once you choose a color, imagine this color leaving your body with each exhale. 
  • Continue this breathing exercise as long as it feels helpful.

3. Relaxation Visualization

technique for visualization meditation: relaxation visualization: great for tense muscle release, anxiety relief

If you’re feeling stressed or achy, this visualization may help your mind and body relax. By pairing a visual aid with progressive muscle relaxation, you may find you can increase your muscle strength, decrease pain, and reduce anxiety.

Here’s how to do it:  

  • Begin by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. 
  • Imagine a glowing, golden light entering your body and resting at the top of your head.  
  • Slowly breathe in and allow the golden light to expand and glow at your forehead, encompassing any stress or tension you may hold there. 
  • As you breathe out, allow the glowing light to shrink, taking any muscle tension with it. 
  • Repeat this breathing exercise as many times as you need to release tension from your forehead. 
  • With your next breath in, imagine the glowing light dropping down to your eyes. Repeat the visualization. 
  • Continue in this way from your head to your toes. Once you’ve relaxed your entire body, allow the glowing light to leave your body, carrying any stress or tension away with it. 

Visualization meditation can help you maintain your mental health and stay focused on your goals. So grab your favorite meditation cushion, take a few deep breaths, and start imagining. Don’t forget to get rewarded for your health purchases in meditation apps like Calm or Headspace


  1. Michael Phelps mentally prepares with visualization: “The Power of the Mind Through Visualization,” Swimming World (May 2022).
  2. Oprah Winfrey credits manifestation for her role in “The Color Purple:” “Oprah Winfrey The Color Purple,” CNN (May 2014).
  3. Brain study shows thoughts can stimulate the same brain regions as actions: “Modulation of Muscle Responses Evoked by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation During the Acquisition of New Fine Motor Skills,” Journal of neurophysiology (September 1995).
  4. Visualization promotes relaxation, enhances sleep, reduces pain, increases creativity: “Body-Mind-Spirit: The Benefits of Visualization,” American Journal of Nursing (December 1998).
  5. Visualization reduces stress/anxiety, improves mood, increases muscle strength and decreases pain: “The Benefits of Visualization,” Dr. Gia Marson (July 2021).

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