Saturday, February 18, 2017

Improving your imagination

My answers at Quora
I hope I am not breaking a Quora rule but I received these two questions within hours of each other. Wait, I can check ... 23 minutes and 1 hour ago. They are similar in a way that allows me to use one to introduce the other. I am going to post my combined answer to both locations.
All I want to know is how can I make my mental images clearer , more colourfull and more dimensional . In general I want to know how can I improve my cognitive ability of visualization.
I will highly appreciate sharing your own ideas and experiences about this topic .
Google definition: imagination
the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
"she'd never been blessed with a vivid imagination"
synonyms: creative power, fancy, vision
the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
"technology gives workers the chance to use their imagination"
synonyms: creativity, imaginativeness, creativeness;
the part of the mind that imagines things.
"a girl who existed only in my imagination"
There are a few ways to increase your imagination. I don't know much about drugs but alcohol and some others do reduce your inhibitions so your mind wanders more freely. Hemingway famous said, "Write drunk, edit sober". He also killed himself so he is not a role model in all things.
Another is finding variety in life. This could be anything from walking through a new part of town, taking a new course or starting anew hobby. Read a book in a genre you don't normally read. Listen to a different genre of music.
The last one I am offering is to force a connection between random things. As an English as a Second Language instructor, I often randomly choose four words from vocabulary lists for the students to use in a story. Or I use Rory's Story dice. I also ask my son to name a sport, a thing in the kitchen and something from school then make a story using those three ingredients.
Rory’s Story dice:
I've been writing about writing, but you can do this in other fields, too. A biology researcher might consider how a mouse might view the ecosystem to gain new imaginative insights.
Now to increase the quality of your imagination. This is the tough one. It gets clearer in the details as the person wants better visualization.
I am going to take this a little sideways and look at relaxation techniques that I learned from sports psychologists that involved visualization. I was taught to do various relaxation routines for my muscles and then visualize a calming place. I wasn't merely to describe it, but to add as much detail as I could. I chose a gentle hillside, under a tree, in the spring, warm and with a fresh breeze. In the distance I could see church steeples, grass and farmland and, .... Well, you make your own.
I think the audio files for guided visualizations here will help:
This site describes them a little: Using the Power of the Relaxation Response to Reduce Stress and Boost Mood One important point is that not everyone can visualize things:
Galton gave people some very detailed surveys, and found that some people did have mental imagery and others didn't. The ones who did had simply assumed everyone did, and the ones who didn't had simply assumed everyone didn't, to the point of coming up with absurd justifications for why they were lying or misunderstanding the question.
It may be that a search like this one can help increase your visual creativity

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