Saturday, December 8, 2012

VISUALIZATION Helps Memory, Creativity, and...Holiday Cheer :-)

VISUALIZATION is a powerful tool we  all use.  In work or school we are told to visualize data, information, concepts, and strategies to better understand, cope, set goals and motivate.

Here is a link and image of "A Periodic Table of Visualization" - click on each element and an image of that type of visualization will appear - very cool! 

[NOTE: CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERACTIVE Periodic Table of Visualization, the table - below is merely a representation].

A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods
These elements of visualization can help with:
  • memory
  • concept formation (and retention)
  • comprehension
  • story writing and critiquing
  • goal setting
  • frame of mind/mood
Because it is the season for holiday cheer and for many, finding that cheer can be difficult, The Wall Street Journal had an article this weekend about how visualizing can help us find holiday cheer. But before getting to that article, I am curious...

How do YOU find holiday Cheer?

In the past, we were advised to "think positive" by many including Norman Vincent Peale who in his book "The Power of Positive Thinking" suggested that we make a deliberate effort to speak hopefully. Studies suggest, however, that optimistic affirmations designed to lift one's mood, often achieve the opposite effect.

art by Alex Nabaum from The Wall Street Journal
In this weekend's Wall Street Journal (The Power of Negative Thinking essayist, Oliver Burkeman suggests that there is an alternative approach to help us find that sometimes ellusive (holiday) cheer:
"...both ancient philosophy and modern psychology suggest that darker thoughts can make us happier."
According to Burkeman, Albert Ellis (a New York psychotherapist) rediscovered this key insight of the Stoic philosophers of ancient Geece and Rome: "the best way to address an uncertain future is to focus not on the best-case scenario but on the worst."

Stoics called this worst-case scenario therapy "the premeditation of evils" and they believed that doing this would remove the anxiety "THE FUTURE" relayed. According to Burkeman, modern psychologist Julie Norem estimates that about one-third of Americans instinctively use this strategy which she terms "defensive pessimism."

Burkeman further posits that,
"The ultimate value of the 'negative path' may not be its role in facilitating upbeat emotions or even success. It is simply realism. The future really is uncertain, after all, and things really do go wrong as well as right. We are too often motivated by craving to put an end to the inevitable surprises in our lives."

While I believe the 'negative path' may be helpful in planning and organizing, it is not necessarily effective for me in building 'cheer'.

For me the cheer comes from being grateful for all the gifts I have. It comes from setting realistic goals, having a loving family, and from contributing to my community at large.  Don't underestimate the power of giving.

HOW DO YOU FIND HOLIDAY CHEER?  Please leave you visualizations and coping suggestions in the comments.

In the meantime, thank you for your visit. Have a JOYFUL holiday and all the very best!



  1. This was really interesting to read! I'll have to think about this more.
    Found you through the hop and am your newest follower,

  2. I have children so I'll be keeping your blog on speed dial. I'm your newest follower from the GFC.

  3. How interesting the mind is such a wonderful thing I will read more for sure.
    hi i am a new follower from the blog hop and would love a return visit if you have time

  4. Hi - Just linked up via the Naptime Review hop! Now I have no question on how to share holiday cheet! If you get a moment, pay me a visit over on my blog:

  5. new follower from the hop!

  6. This is super interesting! Found your blog through the hop! New follower:)

  7. great post- it reminds me of the visualization technique my husband developed while in med school when he had to memorize all the pharmaceuticals. He created a mental house and each room held a class of drugs and he would visualize himself moving about in this was quite elaborate and it worked well for him as he earned an A in his course!

  8. My memory could use some help! Thanks for the great post. Please follow me at and I'll gladly follow you back! Teresa

  9. I think I'm a "natural visualizer" if there is such a thing. Maybe I just fantasize, but it does help me get through difficult going to the dentist! lol Seriously, though, I am usually able to take myself away from the less pleasant aspects of life - sometimes, it's a matter of survival.

    abcw team

  10. It's my kids. I've never been a Holiday girl but I live in a very tightly knit neighborhood and we have a big party where we go caroling and Santa comes to our circle in front of our house. I'm also forcing myself to listen to holiday music and I've been catching all of the holiday shows. My kids are so into it I want to make sure they have better memories than my crazy childhood had!

  11. There was a service at my church a few years ago for people who find the holidays difficult. I still remember when our church tenor, Sandy Cohen, died on Dec 24, 1990.
    I recall an episode of Bewitched (!) in which Benjamin Franklin appeared. He was a negative sort so that, when things turned out all right, he could be pleasantly surprised. At some level, I tend to agree with that philosophy.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  12. Doing things that get me in the mood. Such as: Wrapping presents, decorating holiday cookies and reading holiday books to my kiddos.

  13. Another very informative and educational post ~ great for V ~

    (A Creative Harbor) aka, artmusedog and Carol ^_^

  14. Very interesting post! It really got my brain going haha

    I found your blog through the blog hop and I'm now following you! Great blog! I'd love for you to check out my blog, too, and follow back if you want.


  15. I had no idea there were so many visualization methods. It was fun to explore that chart. Thanks!

  16. Fascinating post about visualization. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  17. Now, i know how my mind perceives every time i read!! i'm amazed! i love it!


  18. Interesting ideas in this diagram.

    Stopping by from the WW blog hop. Come link up!

  19. I loved the visualization periodic table! Thanks for sharing it.

  20. Thanks for stopping by my WW. Periodic table is a smart idea.


  21. I'm a hide-my-head-in-the-sand sort of person and possibly not much of a visualization type (have to think about that a bit). I don't really do gifts or cards or decorations but I also don't get down in the holiday season as long as I'm active. Being outside, playing with my camera, playing with my dog, good times with Bill (especially love the concerts at this time of year) all bring great pleasure. Thanks for a very interesting and thoughtful post. I can see that you have, as my mother used to say, a good head on your shoulders. No question, your strategies (giving, realistic goals, appreciating what you have) are the way to go. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

  22. That is a very interesting graphic. Sorry, for my tardiness with my comments this week. Thanks for linking up with me this week. Hope to see you again next week.

  23. Teachers should read your blog as it has so many informative articles every time!

    V is for..
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  24. Hi! I'm your latest follower from the Aloha Friday blog hop. That is a really great article - and I'm willing to try anything at this stage to get a better memory. Pop over and have a cocktail anytime
    Have an awesome Christmas xx

  25. Following you via Aloha Friday. Have a fantastic weekend!
    xo Sandra

  26. Hi I'm your newest follower from the Friendly Friday hop. It's the smallest actionss that gives me holiday cheer. I arrived at a Christmas luncheon today for our staff & was surprised by a card and gift. It was totally unexpected as my boss usually does not do these things. Or watching Christmas movies, cooking special recipes, and my children's parties at school. Lovely blog and very informative article.

  27. HI! I am your newest follower and found you on the blog hop. I was kinda, maybe, sorta hopin' that you would hop on over to my blog and follow me back! :-)


  28. Isn't the mind an amazing thing...what a great post!

  29. Visualization is important! I teach art, so much of what I teach includes visuals.

  30. My son is almost 11 and will be doing this very soon so I'm bookmarking this for future use!! thank you so very much for sharing!

    I hope you're having a great week my dear!
    Thank you so much for linking up to last week's Aloha Friday Blog Hop!! I'm following you.

    If you have time, we'd love to have you come and link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop if you haven't already! We are hosting a great giveaway too which is a wonderful opportunity to give some extra exposure to you lovely blog. Come and link up, enter the giveaway and celebrate the coming weekend with us!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!


    Jean {What Jean Likes}

  31. That is cool. I bet it comes in handy for students.

  32. there's nothing more dire than cheerfulness. but worst-case scenarios for a creative pessimist aren't going to improve matters nor mind either. Better to do something and stay busy just like folk wisdom says. Too much attending to feelings and they breed.

  33. It helps to think of all I really have and not dwell on the uncertain future. I also remember those less fortunate or those who seem to have everything but have misfortune and feel much more satisfied. And truly everything in the moment is great as long as I remember to live in it :)

  34. what an informative and educational post is it for the youngsters! ;)

    Merry Christmas WW players! My entry is here.
    Perfect Getaway
    Autho Mechanics Technology

  35. Very interesting notion, which bears further reading & study.

    Hope you have Happy holidays & a great New Year!

  36. I suspect Little Dude will be a huge visual learner vs. the way Princess Nagger learns - this is going to come in so handy! :)

    Have a Happy New Year! :)

    Random Tuesday Thoughts Rebel New Year

  37. Interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing. Happy WW!

    Mine is up at Bouncing on Words - Happy New Year 2013

  38. this must have been very interesting to most wide readers! i like it! :)

  39. How very interesting!!
    with 2 little ones this is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing.