Negative Visualization

This past week, I’ve been reading, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. The book is about Roman Stoic Philosophy and how we can use it in our daily lives to improve our overall wellbeing.  In the following week, I’ll be writing about a number of the topics from Irvine’s book.

The topic I want to write about today is one of his four Psychological techniques, Negative Visualization.  Negative Visualization is a method Stoics practiced to help them appreciate their lives and the things they had. This is the practice of spending sometime thinking about something negative happening to others or yourself and what life would be like without them in your life.  This method can be used to help you appreciate your kids, spouse, parents, extended family, and friends.

Before reading this book, I’ve unknowingly used this method to in the past to help me appreciate the things I have in life.  Now I have a name for it. I find it helpful to do this this periodically. You could try focusing on something different once a week or once a day. Especially, when there are days when you are stressing out about your kids or spouse.  It’s easy to think about what they did wrong but instead of indulging that type of thinking try some negative visualization to put your life in perspective. A few minutes will allow you to realize how empty life would be with out those special people being involved in your daily life. It will not make you feel better but make every act done with your family so much more significant.