Guided imagery relaxation is a simple, convenient way to manage your
stress and anxiety levels and reduce muscle tension and strain. Too many of us walk around with our shoulder, neck and even facial muscles screwed up and tense, anxious about something in our lives. A little mental relaxation can go a long way towards relaxing us physically as well!
Guided imagery is almost like daydreaming, but more focused and directly able to help us relax and feel more positive.
With daily or even just bi-weekly practice, you can develop techniques to both relax you and help you achieve greater clarity in your life. As worries recede, you can see more clearly which things are holding you back, and mentally work obstacles in your way.
If you can lie down flat on your back without falling asleep, try that. If you don't think you can stay awake, attempt a cross legged position, or one with your knees bent to the sides and the soles of your feet together (butterfly). Alternately, you can sit erect in a straight backed chair with your feet together and your hands in your lap, or more casually in a recliner with your feet up.
Shut your eyes and concentrate on your breathing first.
Breathing in to a count of five and out again to a count of five will put you at six breaths per minute. As you practice breathing, you will be able to lower your number of breaths per minute for deeper relaxation, the trick is to breathe from your diaphragm.
Once you are relaxed, begin to visualize.
Everyone has their own most relaxing environment. Some like a beach, some prefer a pool, and others opt for a quiet forest glade. You want to add as much detail to your 'happy place as possible. A sound machine can help - whales sounding off near your boat in a placid ocean, or crickets chirping outside the window of your cozy cabin. Smells can be mimicked with candles; a baking apple and cinnamon pie, or a fresh ocean breeze.
Engage as many senses as possible, using the sensations to bring reality to the imagery in your mind.
A small oscillating fan can supply a gentle breeze to stir your hair, or set a pan of water with pebbles in the bottom at your feet, so you can dabble your toes. If it is winter, a fire can provide warmth and familiar crackling.
Even if you don't have props, you can teach yourself to create them in your mind's eye, and experience them as if they were real. You can stay in your imagined place for as long as you wish; if you are on a strict schedule, you might even set an alarm so you don't have to keep checking the time.
Otherwise, when your 'quiet time' is over, count backwards slowly from twenty. Remind yourself that when you reach 'one' you will be energized and ready to face the rest of your day. Take a deep breath and open your eyes; pretend you are exiting a plane at the end of your journey back to reality. Wasn't that a great vacation?
Guided imagery relaxation can whish you away from your troubles, and return you rejuvenated and at peace from your special getaway. Try it to relieve stress anxiety, or even when you simply have some downtime.
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