When dealing with anxiety or stress, a person can start to feel overwhelmed to the point that it affects different aspects of their life like sleeping, their mood, or the ability to stay focused. Guided imagery, also known as visualization, can be used as a stress management or a grounding technique.
How To Use Guided Imagery
- Get comfortable on a couch, chair, your bed, or somewhere you can relax.
- Start out with some deep breathing to help calm your mind and body. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you're struggling to slow your breathing, try breathing in for three seconds, holding it for three seconds, and breathing out for three seconds.
- Picture your happy place in your mind. This can be any place that you genuinely enjoy being or a place that brings you peace. (Ideas might include the beach, the park, a mountain, football field, basketball court, a farm, a church, a garden, or a fictional place.)
- Once you have your happy place in your head, you're going to engage your senses and identify everything that you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Get into as much detail as you can. The more specific you get the more focused you get.
Short Example of Guide Imagery
Imagine yourself sitting on the beach at the lake, you look up and it's a warm sunny day. You can see the waves in the water, the clouds in the sky, the people and boats all around you. You can hear the laughter of the kids that are playing, the sound of the wind blowing things around you, and the sound of the boats driving around in the distance. The sun is warm on your skin and you can feel the sand between your toes. The smell of sunscreen, nature, and the water are in the air. You can even imagine tasting your favorite snack or drink.
The goal of guided imagery is to relax both your mind and body, and to promote positive thinking. Think of it as daydreaming with a purpose. An added benefit is that it can be done anywhere and at any time you feel the need to center yourself and be present in the moment.