Try this. Imagine you are on a beach. Look up and see the clear blue skies. Listen to the waves rolling in. Feel the warm sand on your feet and the cool breeze on your skin. Smell the sea air. Taste the refreshing ice-cream or water melon. Relax. Let yourself go. Close your eyes and play all of this again, just for a few moments, then open your eyes. Are you feeling relaxed… Okay, break that state – think of something else, anything, then read on.
This opening paragraph ‘tested’ a couple of things – your imagination and ability to relax and let go. How ‘real’ was the beach for you? But it also helped you test out your ‘available’ acuities or representational systems – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory (VAKOG – see, hear, feel/touch, smell and taste). More correctly, it may have helped identify your keenest sense(s). Maybe you could ‘see’ the blue skies but didn’t ‘hear’ the rolling waves as clearly.
No matter how well this worked for you (it can take some practice), there is also another concept at work here. Your subconscious mind can’t really distinguish whether you were on a beach or not, if you really get into the ‘movie’. And that is pretty important in a number of respects. For now, I’d like to share an experiment that Claudia Hammond outlines in her book, Emotional Rollercoaster that highlights this point further:
Try this. Stand up and then move your body as though you are laughing uncontrollably. Bend forward, clutching your sides, with your shoulders shaking. You could even introduce the occasional knee slap. Now try to remember exactly what this feels like physically within your body. Then stand up straight again and imagine that you’re doubled up with laughter, but this time don’t move, just think of these movements. Don’t think of a funny occasion or a joke. Simply imagine that your body is experiencing uncontrollable laughter and then see how you feel.
Go on, try it. You see, with practice you can feel happier just by imagining the movements of laughter.