If you have a big presentation, performance, or simply a stressful event ahead, you might find yourself visualizing the worst case scenario. But actively doing the opposite can not only improve your mental well-being, but also improve the outcome of the situation. 

Practicing positive self-visualization is a powerful coping mechanism to keep in your mental health toolbox. The technique, also known as the “best self visualization intervention,” has been popularized by athletes like Michael Phelps and is often part of guided meditation courses. Studies have shown that picturing yourself doing a job well done can increase physical strength as well as resilience.

Best of all, the technique is straightforward. Simply visualize yourself doing something — and doing it well. Whether it’s delivering a speech, crossing that finish line, or acing an interview, play the situation out in your head, and give yourself permission to play it out perfectly. Doing so can have a tangible impact on how things go when you stand up to present or lace up your running shoes. 

You can also try the exercise in its written form. Research shows writing about your “best possible future” can enhance well-being and positive mood. It turns out we have all the tools we need to turn our dreams and utmost hopes into reality — and they all lie within us.


  • Jessica Hicks

    Managing Editor at Thrive

    Jessica Hicks is a managing editor at Thrive. She graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in journalism, sociology, and anthropology, and is passionate about using storytelling to ignite positive change in the lives of others.