Updated date:

Vision Boarding When You Have a Trauma History: Tips and Prompts

Joy sets goals for continuous achievement, and loves connecting with others by helping them reach their own ideals and aspirations.

Designing Your Story

You alone can determine exactly how to live your story.

You alone can determine exactly how to live your story.

Our Vision Boarding Process

First we'll review what has worked for others. In this article, we talk about the usual instructions for setting up a vision board which is supposed to help you achieve your goals and aspirations. Next, we'll walk step-by-step through the process of modifying these instructions for your particular case. Finally, we'll troubleshoot areas of particular concern, and expand on approaches and concepts that may work for you, even if dream boarding never has worked before.

If you have not read our article, "How to Eliminate Fear From Your Life--5 Steps to Start," this would be a good time to do that, as we explore in some detail the role fear can play in our lives, and how to begin overcoming.

Opening New Spheres of Possibility

What lies beyond your fears? Time to find out!

What lies beyond your fears? Time to find out!

Vision Boarding Resources

We have no intention of rewriting what others have done so well. Therefore we have included a couple links to what we consider to be the best articles available on basic vision boarding methods. Each of these articles leads to others, so you can pursue this subject as far as you want to on your own.

Meanwhile, we'll briefly review the basic ideas, and discuss what vision boarding is and is not.

Vision boarding is:

  • A way to define what you want to become, and what lifestyle you intend to grow into.
  • A visual, daily cue to role play the life you want.
  • Based on emotions, not facts or logic. This is because our heart operates on desires, not logic.

Vision boarding is not:

  • Another to-do list, and is . . .
  • . . . definitely not a honey-do list, or things you want someone else to do.

No One Else Can Do This for You

You are solely responsible for the state of your vision board and what remains on it. You are also responsible for how you view your board, and for using it effectively.

Basic Process for Development

  1. Brainstorm a list of what you truly want.
  2. Be as specific as possible--imagine every detail in vivid color and emotion.
  3. Find pictures which accurately represent these concepts (keep track of sources, if the item is something to buy).
  4. Arrange these pictures on a piece of poster board, in a notebook, or in any convenient electronic format.
  5. Look at your top 100 dreams (or the whole board) at least daily. Plan time into your schedule to allow for a proper, emotionally-driven examination of these aspirations.
  6. Set goals for achieving your top 1 to 9 aspiration(s)--break each one down into easily achievable steps, labeling each step with a finish-by date and a reward for yourself.
  7. Celebrate each achievement or milestone in some small, personal way.

Keep to Your Path

You alone can walk your path, be it twisting or free.

You alone can walk your path, be it twisting or free.

Requirements for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Vision Board

  • A flexible format which allows for the needs of an unstable or sporadic mindset.
  • Affirmation videos, if inspiring and highly specific to you and your situation.
  • Affirmations and quotes, if chosen with care and developed with attention to the principles of time being an illusion. (More on this in a later article.)
  • A dumping ground for ideas you don't have time or energy to properly assess or sort. We use a Pinterest Board, but a computer file, app designed for vision boarding, or other picture sharing site may suit you better.

How to Go About Deciding What You Want

We will cover this topic in much greater detail in other parts of this series, but below are some pointers and prompts.

  • Concentrate on emotions, not logic.
  • Consider and focus not on what you want to do, but on what you want to become.
  • Start where you are at. Take baby steps.
  • Never mind how reusable a thing or idea is . . . just realize how much you want it (or not).

Every Destination Happens Through Steps

 Even the smallest steps ensure you are not giving over your dreams to stagnation and pain.

Even the smallest steps ensure you are not giving over your dreams to stagnation and pain.

How to Create a Vision Board That Really Works! - (Warning: This Video Will Change Your Life!)

Prompts to Jumpstart Your Emotions

Ask yourself what each of the areas below looks like in your perfect world. Think about sights, smells, tastes, sensations, sounds, surroundings, people, and vibes. Add your own categories, if you wish.

  • Abundance looks like . . .
  • Serenity is . . .
  • Time must be . . .
  • My energy is . . .
  • Beauty is expressed through . . .
  • Happiness is found in . . .
  • Perfect food includes . . .
  • The role of animals/wildlife/pets in my life is . . .
  • Family interaction is . . .
  • My relationship with my family is . . .
  • My friends/companions are . . .
  • The atmosphere and details of my home are . . .
  • My yard and property make me feel _____________, because they ____________
  • Road trips are . . .
  • My vehicle/transportation is . . .
  • My ideal music/movies or entertainment look like ________ and includes _______
  • My reading/studying/schooling is . . .
  • Shopping is . . .
  • My favorite times of day are ________. They look and feel __________.
  • Holidays are . . .
  • My hobbies are ________ and include ________
  • Collections I keep . . .
  • Add your own categories here

What colors evoke certain moods or states for you? (For us, Purple=Personal Time, and Yellow=Clean.)

What do you want to eliminate from your mind and life?

With whom do you want to do things?--everyday things, or special things.

Finally, while out walking, or at any time your mind wanders in a pleasant way, what do you see yourself doing? What do you find yourself wishing you were accomplishing with your life? This is your key, your main topic.

Examples of Playful Thought Exploration

Let's explore a few examples of how you might fill in the above list. If you have never seriously focused on changing your life, getting started can feel overwhelming. The thoughts given in these examples are strictly my own; yours may be quite different, and that is okay. I have done the first four points.

  • Abundance looks like . . . Ready cash. Daily choices regarding: foods, who I see, what I do with my time and energy, when I get up and go to bed. Close friends who want to talk and share lives in an ever-deepening way. These people are companionable, kind, honest, ethical, tenacious, and refuse to give up on themselves. A rural property filled to overflowing with life on all levels--animals, plants, soil, sky, people. A social life that includes people from around the world, is reliable, and soul-filling. A relationship with God that is close, talky, and deepening--a working partnership as well as a heart-relationship, leading to intense wisdom, love, and light in all areas of my life and being.
  • Serenity is . . . A hopeful, kind, and settled heart which is not dependent on circumstances. I have such a heart. My serenity comes from my rootedness in God, and cannot be shaken. Surroundings that encourage serenity in my body include: lonely attic hideouts, rainy gardens and woods, wide night skies and golden moons, purring cats, home-roasted organic coffee in beautiful mugs, new notebooks and purple pens, music that searches my inward parts.
  • Time must be . . . Wrought carefully, with attention to balance in my life and mind, the needs of hearts which are next to mine, and clean living. Time is a tool to use when weaving lives together. Fellowship happens best in gentle surroundings, so my home is clean and hope-filled, with bright spaces and comfortable nooks, and homemade food to cheer the heart.
  • My energy is . . . Abundant, cheerful, shining, and wholesome, attracting those who search equally for light and truth. I use it to create manifestations of beauty and holiness throughout my home and life. All things point to Christ.

As you can see, there may be some overlap from one category to the next. "Abundance" serves for me as a synopsis of the remaining categories.

Prompts to Jumpstart Your Emotions

Ask yourself what each of the areas below looks like in your perfect world. Think about sights, smells, tastes, sensations, sounds, surroundings, people, and vibes. Add your own categories, if you wish.

  • Abundance looks like . . .
  • Serenity is . . .
  • Time must be . . .
  • My energy is . . .
  • Beauty is expressed through . . .
  • Happiness is found in . . .
  • Perfect food includes . . .
  • The role of animals/wildlife/pets in my life is . . .
  • Family interaction is . . .
  • My relationship with my family is . . .
  • My friends/companions are . . .
  • The atmosphere and details of my home are . . .
  • My yard and property make me feel _____________, because they ____________
  • Road trips are . . .
  • My vehicle/transportation is . . .
  • My ideal music/movies or entertainment look like ________ and includes _______
  • My reading/studying/schooling is . . .
  • Shopping is . . .
  • My favorite times of day are ________. They look and feel __________.
  • Holidays are . . .
  • My hobbies are ________ and include ________
  • Collections I keep . . .
  • Add your own categories here

What colors evoke certain moods or states for you? (For us, Purple=Personal Time, and Yellow=Clean.)

What do you want to eliminate from your mind and life?

With whom do you want to do things?--everyday things, or special things.

Finally, while out walking, or at any time your mind wanders in a pleasant way, what do you see yourself doing? What do you find yourself wishing you were accomplishing with your life? This is your key, your main topic.

How to Create a Vision Board That Works (Practicing Laser Focus), by Feel Well, Live Well

Tips for Keeping Your Board and Responses Fresh

Remove images as they age, and add new ones which grab your emotions. You may keep old ones in an "Accomplished" file or a "Journal/Memories" file. (Name these files how you like.)

Do something creative to solidify your emotional memory of what you want and are aiming for.

Remember that all resources you actually need for projects, life, and changes are already available in some way . . . although they are perhaps hidden behind trash and small thinking.

Gratitude vs. Voraciousness--You Must Do This Before You Vision Board (Warning: Life Changing)

Electronic Formats Work Best for Us

For our situation, electronic formats have worked better than physical ones. Due to our secretive, super-sensitive nature and busy household, we tend to abandon methods which force us to indiscriminately share or display our ideas, even with our family.

Also, because different members of our soul think and act differently (we have DID), we need flexibility. We cannot guarantee that we will remember and see things the same way one day to the next. Therefore, Pinterest's format provides the flexibility and adaptive qualities we need to keep up with ourselves.

However, a variety of apps are available which have been developed specifically for dream or vision boarding. You may wish to explore these, and try out which may be suited to your own different and changing needs.

Some popular apps for practicing being the architect of your life include:

  • Evernote (text notes, images, tables, cross links, plus more)
  • Pinterest (images and links, inspiration and beauty)
  • Chaos Control (lists and reminders, useful and simple format for idea development)
  • Visuapp (Android, free, comes with ability to set reminders and music)
  • Corkulous Pro (Apple/Mac)
  • Bloom (Apple/Mac, free)

Among the Best Vision Board How-To's

Our Conditions and Qualifications

We are an autistic DID System who have spent years exploring how trauma affects our ability to live our best life and act on our deepest needs. We have no official diagnosis, and no legal qualifications to offer advice or training on mental health conditions. Conversely, we have a decade of experience managing our Dissociative Identity Disorder, as well as about five years working to understand our autism.

Our Approach to Vision Boarding

Because fear is such a huge roadblock to stability and satisfaction, we have chosen to approach the topic of vision board development by exploring how it can be used to assist in healing and changing trauma patterns. We specifically use it to overcome fear and other trauma responses.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Joilene Rasmussen

Related Articles