Vision is its simplest form is the ability to see.  I don’t know about you but I am immensely grateful for my sense of sight as it helps me navigate through life; but also because the world holds such captivating and inspirational beauty that commands to be seen. Vision is also the ability to think about and plan the future with imagination or wisdom.  It is the embodiment of hopes, dreams and aspirations for a life we want for ourselves; one we need to create or re-envision, chase, speak into the universe and manifest. We at the Dismas Home of New Hampshire know that your life may not be what you want at the moment, BUT that’s okay! We sincerely believe you have the ability to become who you want to be and have the life you want to have if YOU so choose. Through your path to recovery you will slowly being to see who you were yesterday, who you are today and who you dream of becoming tomorrow. The key is having a clear path of how to get there and that’s where a vision board comes into play. 

What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is a collage of items, mostly images or affirmations that represents someone’s goals and dreams.  This visual representation of what you want to attract in your life can be either physical or digital and can include anything from bumper stickers to a piece of fabric that matters to you.  The idea is taken from the law of attraction philosophy suggesting that positive thoughts bring positive results into a person’s life.  A good vision board should serve as inspiration and motivation to manifest YOUR goals and dreams. Because each of us are different our boards will also be different.  Your vision board can be whatever you choose to make it, a single word, a painting or a collage as long as it speaks to you.  In recovery a vision board is no different, it is used to help you clarify your goals and maintain your focus, reinforcing the future you envision for yourself.

How a vision board can help your recovery journey

One of the most important aspects during the recovery process is vision.  Being able to envision a life outside of your addiction, one where you have the ability to achieve your hopes and dreams can actually help you to do just that.  Here are some way in which a vision board can help your recovery journey.  

  1. Set clear-cut intentions – after acceptance of who you were during you challenge with addiction and where you are today in the process of your recovery journey, you might have a general idea of who you want to become and what you want to accomplish in life.  Maybe it is returning to school or finding a job, reuniting with your friends and family, volunteering or working on a healthy lifestyle.  Creating a detail oriented vision board can help you fine tune the specifics.   
  1. Creative outlet – approaching your vision board in an artistic manner can be very soothing and therapeutic.  It could even help you process emotions you haven’t been able to verbalize quite yet.  Studies show that art therapy is a very beneficial part of many recovery journeys and it could be used here.  
  1. Stay Focus – your vision board is a daily reminder of your goals and aspirations.  It should be placed in an area where you can see it daily so during those challenging moments you can glance at it and re-center yourself.  

Manifestation – using this as an exercise to focus your thoughts through mindfulness, visualization and meditation you can harness your emotional energy to bring your desired outcome into reality.  This is the reason why you look at your vision board every day so that your subconscious understands the ‘you want this? Come get it’ philosophy.  This way when an opportunity presents itself to you, you will be able to see if you should take it or not. Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart explains, “Looking at images on a vision board primes the brain to grasp opportunities that may otherwise gone unnoticed. That’s because the brain has a process called ‘value-tagging’ which imprints important things onto your subconscious and filters out unnecessary information.”

How do I create a recovery vision board?

First things first, this vision board is yours and it should be as unique as you are.  This board needs to be filled with your dreams, your aspiration, your inspirations, no one else’s.  

Step 1 – Choose a format that works for you and gather your supplies.  If you want physical board you can use a poster board a box panel, then gather scissors, glue sticks, markers, magazines, etc. Or you can create a digital board with an app like Pinterest where you have access to it no matter where you are. 

Step 2 – Choose your specific recovery goals.  This could be working through a 12 step program, or engaging in more one on one therapy sessions, or creating a deeper connection with yourself through self-care activities like gardening, yoga, etc.

Step 3 – Choose your inspirations – this is where you can get creative and pull inspirations from magazines such as pictures of happy families, or places you want to visit, phrases that help you focus on recovery during your difficult times, or yarn, fabric, paint brushes, puzzle pieces etc. 

Step 4 – Put it together – the key thing to remember here is to have fun doing this!  Your board doesn’t need to flow a certain way or be completely filled in all at once and it definitely won’t be perfect.  This is YOUR board, it needs to inspire YOU.  

As time goes on and you evolve your board can evolve as well.  It’s completely normal to change the collage as time goes by or as you accomplish your goals and dreams.  There are no rules surrounding how often you should update your vision board but if you ever feel the need to add or remove thing, DO IT! 

Here at the Dismas Home of New Hampshire we believe in the power of vision boards. We believe that the step-by-step process of putting them together which can include journaling, meditating, writing, drawing or creating provides a positive emotional space that energizes the brain and promotes a positive emotion booster.  We leave you with a powerful quote by Neil Gainman, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is YOU.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. 

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