The piece Visualize-Feel provides a checklist of what you might notice and look for in creating a visualization that is in sufficient detail to be impactful. You can even use the form at the end to totally change how you feel - in a very short time. The piece Creating The Ideal Version you are drawn into "what it would look like" to be a particular way you want to be, what you would do and how you'd feel.
PRACTICING AND PERFECTING ONE'S EMOTIONAL LIFE
The process in this section is a way of practicing a new way of thinking and acting to create new actions and feeling good.
It includes what we might get from going through an ABCDEF Rational Analysis and seeing what you would rather think, feel and do - and then visualizing the whole process in an actual situation that might have created unwanted emotions and/or behaviors.
This is actually the opposite process than most people's irrational imaginings of unpleasant situations. People tend to obsess and "practice" modes of feeling bad - and then they get really good at that.
I recommend you get good at the opposite: Rational (positive) Emotive Imagery.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS
What is a bit different about this from other visualization processes is that we are not just visualizing a result or an experience and then feeling good about it. In addition, we are creating a process of a way of thinking that will serve us well, even if a situation does not happen as we would like it to be.
Let me get this straight up front: any positive visualization is good in that it creates positive emotions and often displaces negative visualizations. As I think of what these might be I notice that they are all "favorable" situations, to which I would respond well. But circumstances and people might just not behave or happen the way I want them to happen in real life. And one of the keys of living a good life is getting over the childish concept of hoping that circumstances happening as you want them or people doing what you want (approving of you, rescuing you, or acting as you might manipulate them into doing, etc.) will cause your life and cause you to be happy.
USING THE VITAL TRUTH UNDERLYING ALL EFFECTIVE DISCIPLINES
That is the "happiness is creating from 'out there' belief system." All sound disciplines, however, say that happiness comes from "inside" and/or from your acting powerfully. Most people consider this in a trite manner, like an "oh, there is another trite saying that is supposed to be true, but..." I urge you to take this to heart, as the source of your good feelings is actually from inside you, from your beliefs and evaluating thoughts. Some of those will line up with "out there", so they are no brainers. But if you take anything that has you experiencing negative emotions and you create a way of neutralizing or creating positive emotions from inside, then you will experience life from personal mastery and create happiness no matter what!
And creating happiness no matter what is the most vital skill for your life being happy. See Fearlessness, as it comes from the same skill.
LEARN THE BASIS
Read the piece called ABCDEF Rational Analysis as understanding that is a key prerequisite to getting the most out of the practicing of a good life in your imagination, via Rational Emotive Imagery.
Notice that whenever you practice, you are retraining your brain. Whenever you rehearse, you are getting better and better at something, you are learning to do it. And, as you get really good at it, it becomes a habit. (Of course, you've experienced this many times, just mostly in forming negative, undesired habits.)
And you might notice in life that we sometimes do not attempt to do things or do not do them often enough because we have a fear of failure and/or making mistakes. But if you practice and try doing something in your imagination, there is no penalty for making mistakes - but there is a learning to make fewer and fewer mistakes.
Before you've been through anything sufficiently you haven't learned things sufficiently so that the only likely result is that you will make mistakes as a natural by product of not knowing - which is a condition that is continued until you know enough.
By doing these imagings you will speed up your education - and get better and better at the emotion game - such that your life will be magnificently changed.
1. Review what you wrote about what happened (A) and then your clarification of what actually happened (D-A) and then your desired emotional outcome (E) and D-B which is the rational thoughts that you wrote that will support you to having the desired emotional outcome. I would recommend also include your F, the new actions that would be chosen.
2, Prep yourself before visualizing what happened before that formerly upset you. You do this by calming yourself through slow deep breathing and relaxation for two or three minutes.
3. Visualize the situation that happened outside of you but now imagine yourself thinking the thoughts that you decided were helpful. See yourself feeling those positive emotions and acting the way you decided.
4. If (or when) you slip up, just correct yourself immediately, not allowing the wrong action or harmful thought to continue at all.
5. If you can't quite complete the visualization or you sense yourself not believing what you wrote as being rational, revisit and write more, based probably on the objections or conflicting thoughts that came up in the visualization.
6. Some people have to go back and actually re-write the whole thing, as if writing a play. X happened. I thought ... and then I felt...and then... - all written in the exact sequence that you want it all to occur. Then you can re-read it and perhaps visualize it all in your head to the extent you can, finishing with re-reading it.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DO THIS?
This is your life. I urge that you do whatever is necessary to get good at it, to master it.
And to master it, you need to do as all greats do: practice, practice, practice - but with attention to seeing what needs to be corrected and then correcting it. It is not practice that make you perfect. It is perfect practice that makes you perfect (highly skilled) at something. It takes 10,000 hours for a "natural" genius to all of a sudden become a genius. (See Developing Skills Effectively Is Simple And There Is No Way Around Doing "The Process" and scan Authentic Learning. When I finally learned how to learn, I noticed that study and reading time dropped and learning increased with very little effort - I highly recommend "smart learning". )
What we are re-training here is your thinking process converting it from irrationality and/or sloppy thinking to rational, directed thinking. And as you get better at it, it will be easier and automatic, like any habit.
And so, we must do the hours and do it in a concentrated fashion (so that it doesn't dissipate or get forgotten when we "get out of the habit").
That means that you do the ABCDEF Rational Analysis form/process 4 or more times a day, dealing with any situation that caused negative emotions as a consequence. (If you have fewer, I'd be very surprised!) And then the imagery process should be done at least 3 times a day: early in the morning (maybe before getting out of bed), in the middle of the day, and in the evening.
And continue this until you get the desired product - don't quit any sooner (which is probably your normal modus operandi, to quit too soon and wonder why you just can't seem to get the results you want - there is no mystery to it). (The irony here is that despite the hours you invest in this you will find yourself with more time and more ease in life.)
Practice this for at least one month, at least six days a week.
Become a master at this most vital skill of all: rational thinking. It will lead you not only to feeling better but also to making better decisions and to being able to solve problems much better - and ultimately to managing life much, much better - and then you'll be able to generate your own happiness even "for no reason". (Marci Shimoff's Happy For No Reason is a relevant read.)