Who hasn’t heard about the Desire Maps? Nowadays, this is a very popular tool used to make desires come true. But… is it an effective tool? Like every popular phenomenon, it requires a lot of consideration and analysis to separate truth from fiction. So, let’s start.
The Desire Map usually is created on paper where people attach images of everything that they want in life. There are different flavors of this technique, but the essence is the same. If you want something – attach a photo, draw it, sculpt it, describe it with words – use any means to create a symbol that will inspire you and can be visualized.
Is this related to psychology? Yes and no. Yes – because in practical psychology there is such a technique as visualization. It is when a person imagines a certain object or a scenario to achieve a certain goal.
For example, to feel relaxed, imagine being on a beach with a mojito in your hands. Do it right now. Feel the waves gently stroking your feet and your hair flowing in the sea breeze… Feel the warm sun on your skin… and the white sand that you want to lazily run through with your fingers… Were you able to imagine this? Do you notice how your heartbeat is getting calmer and your breathing is getting slower? Perhaps, there is a slight smile on your lips now? This is how visualization works.
It is not some made-up nonsense. Visualization activates your right hemisphere that is responsible for images. And this helps to balance and harmonize the function of your brain.
The research shows that your body reacts to made-up images (images that you imagine) in the same way as if they were real. For example, if you are afraid of heights and imagine yourself being on a balcony on the 17th floor, you will experience the same fear as if this was real. Your brain cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality and produces the same hormones – you will feel that your pulse and breathing are getting faster, your hands and feet are getting colder, etc.
Visualization can cause changes in blood sugar concentration, affect the digestion process and the work of the cardiovascular system, and can change the muscle tone. In other words, with the help of focused imagination, the work of the body and psyche can be programmed.
This approach is also used in biofeedback – when a person sees on the screen their physiological parameters (heart rate, muscle tone, galvanic skin reactions, etc.) and can change them at will, using, among other things, visualization techniques.
Thus, the visualization method, when applied correctly, is quite a useful tool. The Desire Maps use this method to some extent. When we more clearly imagine what we want, our brains react to it, perceiving it as a goal, and then certain changes can occur. However, this works only if you don’t stop at hanging pictures on the wall but also add some actions. This is a very important condition.
However, some people use this tool as some sort of magic. It looks like this: “I will hang on the fridge a photograph of Ryan Gosling, red Tesla, myself weighing 40 pounds less, and a picture of Hawaii – and the Universe will give me all this.” In general, we have nothing against such techniques – everyone is free to believe in what they want. It is just that this is not related to classical psychology: these actions have a certain esoteric flavor and are not compatible with science.
Angela wanted to be promoted at work very much. She heard about the Desire Maps and thought that it would be a great idea. She spent the whole evening clipping and pasting images of cozy offices and numbers with a lot of zeros at the end. But when they offered her to take training courses to improve her skills and competencies, she declined – it was too far to drive. Someone else got promoted… And Angela is still waiting – she still has her Desire Map up on the wall, and it is so-ooo beautiful…
If you simply look at the desired images, it is unlikely that any changes will happen in your life. In addition to having beautiful pictures, it would be great to create plans for how you will achieve your dreams and desires. Then the chances of them coming true will greatly increase.