Imagine that you find yourself feeling sick. Your head dizzy, your stomach nauseated, and you want to throw up. And you find no one else in your room to help you. No medicine or natural remedies you can find on your shelves either. 

You feel hopeless, sick, and miserable. 

Suddenly, you wake up and realise it was all a dream. You can get up easily, your family is there for you, and you find yourself healthy. 

You feel an outburst of relief and gratitude. You realise that the “ordinary” things you have in your life are a miracle. 

That, my friend, is negative visualization. 

The Stoic wisdom

If you haven’t heard about it, negative visualization is a concept that was coined by the great Stoic philosophers. Despite its name, negative visualization is a method to cultivate positive experience and gratitude for the current life you have now.  

Negative visualization is contemplation that a bad thing would happen to us; then realising that you are not losing anything at all. 

It’s like gratitude meditation with an extra shot of pressure. Especially, when you forget to realise your privilege (okay, I admit I often forget my privilege). 

Extra hit to practice gratitude

I think everyone can benefit from negative visualization. For example, when you are not satisfied with your job, your finances, or even your plate of dinner, engaging in negative visualization reminds us to be grateful in life. It’s like telling us, “You already have everything you need in life. Why are you not satisfied? What do you want, anyway?” 

We often feel jealous or envious of our friends who are wealthier or look happier than us. While on the other hand, we seldom compare ourselves with the people who are less fortunate (hmm, I think I am writing this post as a reminder to me 😁). I know, maybe it’s not really appropriate to be grateful for our own life when we see the beggar on the street — but I can’t help it! 

However, with this negative visualization, you don’t need to meet the unfortunate person to be grateful. Turns out, you can practice gratitude only with your own will. 

You can practice negative visualization on everything you have in life. It can be your family, partner, children, finances, home to live in, friends, the food you eat, the body you have, the sun — the list is endless. 

Ah, so many things to be grateful for!