boy practicing karate.

The human mind is a powerful force of nature that can inspire us to dream big, think creatively, and solve problems. But it can also greatly amplify our fears, anxieties, and stressors. With the right tools, however, we can find ways to alleviate much of the negativity in our lives. I founded The Healing Mind in order to raise awareness about the power of mind/body self-care tools in healing. Through hundreds of workshops, I’ve taught people about the resilience of their minds and the power they possess to overcome their fears with simple evidence-based exercises, such as positive visualization and guided imagery.

One uplifting success story is the case of Grayson, an outgoing and adventurous little preschooler who developed serious anxieties after his best friend moved away and he entered an uncomfortable new school environment. We meet Grayson and learn how he started conquering his anxieties in a short film called “Superpower.” It’s part of TakeCare, a national initiative rooted in science that provides the reflection, motivation, and implementation to inspire people to create health and well-being in their lives.

Grayson had been a happy kid who loved to wear costumes and pretend to be a superhero, flying around the house – until he became scared to even go to school. “He just wasn’t Grayson anymore,” his mother says in the film. “We really worried that we lost our son and wouldn’t get him back.”

The Reality of Positive Visualization

Grayson’s parents took him to a mental health professional who helped him explore his feelings and overcome his fears through the powerful techniques of positive visualization and guided imagery. In Grayson’s case, his therapist initially taught him how to calm himself through measured, meditative breathing techniques, and then moved him toward channeling his imagination to relax himself further through mental imagery.

Grayson’s therapist led him to create an imaginary friend, his tiger, who could protect him and take him to a safe, calm place like a forest filled with birds and animals and a flowing stream. Research shows that our bodies can sometimes respond – negatively and positively – to what’s going on in our mind, as if it were happening in real life. Positive visualization allows us to let go of our stress by imagining ourselves in a safe, comfortable, relaxing environment – our “happy place.”

Everyone’s happy place looks different, but visualizing a soothing environment instead of a stress-filled situation can allow the brain to send signals to your body to embrace the calming thoughts instead – essentially teaching you how to make yourself relax.

For Grayson, his new mental tools helped him return to the things he once enjoyed, such as music, swimming, tae kwon do, and playing with friends. “I’m still a little nervous in school,” Grayson says in the film, “but not as nervous as I once was.”

We all can feel like our minds can run wild. Often, too much exposure to the news or the relentless barrage of social media can make us anxious, stressed, and even fearful of the world around us. And it may feel like there’s nothing we can do apart from shutting ourselves off from the world. But we can learn to recognize situations when positive visualization may be useful in soothing our fears and keeping our problems from becoming bigger than they are.

Each of us may approach positive visualization differently, but the benefits are the same: relief, relaxation, and the knowledge that all we need to feel better is a superpower we possess right in our minds.

You can read this blog on TakeCare.

Dr. Martin Rossman, MD, served as an advisor for the TakeCare film “Superpower.” He is a clinical faculty member with the University of California San Francisco and a founding board member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He has also authored multiple books, including “Fighting Cancer from Within,” and the award winning self-help book, “Guided Imagery for Self-Healing.”


  • Funded by the nonprofit The Healthy US Collaborative Inc., TakeCare is a national initiative that invites people to take care of their Whole Health: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Community. Through education, community support, and highlighting the simple ways in which people have transformed their lives, TakeCare inspires a Whole Health movement for all.