PTSD Professional Perspective: Find Joy with Visualization

Successfully creating the life and future you want comes from being able to imagine and envision it. While you find your path to  recovery you can supplement your healing (and give it a really fabulous boost!) by already exploring what you want and who you wish to be later, when you have overcome symptoms of posttraumatic stress.

Today’s guest post come from Mary Petto, the creator of a process that can get you moving in the right direction.

Find Joy with Visualization 

Working with Michele Rosenthal last year in a marketing role was an incredible learning experience for me.  As a social media and marketing consultant, it is my job to become absorbed in the client, the client’s clients, and the purpose that organization serves. None had quite the learning curve, nor the resulting education I came away with. Since the end of my engagement with Michele, I’ve moved on to many other clients and have added a new purpose to my life’s goals, and that is of helping others create positive change in their lives by harnessing the incredible power we each have within us to do so with visualization.  This mission led to the concept of the Vision in Progress™ Box, and it is my hope that more people will begin to see the benefits of visualization and create the joy in their lives we are all meant to have.

The Heal My PTSD community has learned and shared a lot about the workings of the mind and the power of the brain to heal itself, the body and the soul.  Articles have explored the important connections between the mind and the body.  From science and psychology, from modern-day life coaches and the great philosophers, there is agreement on these few matters:

You have enormous healing potential. The goal is learning to access it.

It is possible to conquer the past and create the future.

Our intuition is often physical.

All of our emotions create physical sensations.

Every thought, actually, produces a physical reaction that gives you knowledge. 

The Universal Law of Attraction

There is agreement because these truths reflect universal laws including the Law of Attraction. The LoA states that our thoughts create our results. That by mindfully focusing on the changes you’d like to manifest in your life or the joys you’d like to achieve you actually can achieve them. What’s more, by using visualization techniques you will be effective at doing that which simply setting goals does not do. Take a typical New Year’s resolution. You commit to dietary changes and exercise, but in a short period of time it fizzles. Why?  It’s not because you’re lazy, but because you are programmed at the non-conscious level to see yourself in your current self-image with your current negative beliefs about your physical health. In short, your imagination is stronger than your will power.  And the good news is that the imagination can be driven by your subconscious which is far more powerful than your “thinking” brain. In a sense, your brain limits your potential unless you teach it to follow your positive desires and you reinforce those desires.  One powerful and proven technique is visualization, typically using what is called a vision board.


When you visualize you are literally focusing on a collection of images, symbols and words that represent the outcome you desire, which eventually affects your brain. That’s right, you are physically affecting neural pathways and connections, and this helps turn a dream into reality.  Visualization and mindfulness activate the powerful subconscious reticular activation system (RAS ) in your brain, which monitors all the input your senses provide, searching your memory, and mustering your imagination to connect the dots and bring together the picture you are focused on.  Visualization enhances your mind’s ability to find and hold onto the valuable insights you need, and to make the best connections among those insights to produce the results desired.  And your subconscious does not rest or get distracted or debate topics.

Vision Boards

The best tool for visualization is called a vision board—a collection of images, words or symbols that represent your greatest aspirations.  To start, you collect images or quotes that inspire you and clearly resonate with you. Commonly, the images are pasted on a poster board and hung somewhere you frequent so that not a day goes by without focus on it. The key to success is to focus on that vision board daily and mindfully. With your head clear and several minutes of meditation before visualization, you can really boost your success.

Special Needs for Flexibility

For some, putting together a vision board seems like a hardship. Finding pictures, gluing them to a board (which means first arranging them for best focus) and then finding a place to mount a poster out in the open is a daunting task.  Also, there are many people who are grappling with the need for change, or the need for healing, and so are unclear about just what it is they want. Committing to specific visions and images isn’t easy in all cases. In these situations, you can gather images that just bring you joy, even if you’re not sure why they do. Just by gathering and arranging these images as they present themselves to you can bring about that clear vision you seek.

The Better Vision Board

This need for flexibility in setting up a vision board is what inspired the creation of the Vision in Progress Box, a new tool that lets you arrange and rearrange your layout with ease.  Put the lid on it and your board is safe for travel to work or on vacation so you can maximize your visualization time.  Unlike poster board, it can be readily brought to any room in the house without having to be unrolled and hung up.   Because visualization sessions can be especially effective if done before or immediately after sleeping, one of the key benefits is that the 13 inch square box is easily held in your hands and temporarily stored on a dresser or in a drawer.

Visualization Tips

To practice the Law of Attraction well is to get your visions and the emotions and feelings associated with those images and imprinted into your subconscious mind, so it is important to make visualization a daily practice.  John Assaraf, one of the teachers in the movie The Secret, and author of The Answer, recommends practicing visualization three times per day for a total of approximately 30 minutes. If this doesn’t work for you, here are some of his teachings to keep in mind:

1.       If you only have seven minutes to spare, that’s okay, just COMMIT to doing it each and every day for those seven minutes, and do it fully. Your INTENT is most pivotal for visualization success.

2.       If you can only visualize once each day, try to make it just after waking from sleep, when your brain’s alpha waves are still present. This is when you are most receptive to signals from the quantum universe and when your messages out to the universe are most clear.

3.       Your visualization time should start with meditation to clear your mind for focus, and conclude with affirmations to further imprint your subconscious with the right beliefs to attract your goals.

Of course, the best way to ensure that you’re focusing on your vision board is to keep it wherever YOU are.

The time to start visualizing your joy is now. It’s okay if you only have a couple of pictures to begin. Use the Vision in Progress Box to start your vision board and it won’t be long before it’s filled with your new wonderful story.


Mary Petto is a social media strategist and coach, and is the inventor of the Vision in Progress Box.  She visualizes a better, more peaceful world for all of us. To purchase Mary’s ‘Vision In Progress Box’ click here.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele.


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