Guided Imagery and Visualization
Have you ever caught yourself drifting off at a meeting or in church - reliving a pleasant episode - daydreaming about a happy event past or future? It feels good. Visualization, or imagining yourself to be someplace wonderful and free, is a method of stress relieving that can be very beneficial. The wonderful, peaceful scene can be anywhere you want it to be, a quiet beach, a calm lake, or a cozy fire on a cold winter night, for example.
To achieve tranquillity from visualisation exercises you need to perfect the exercise by practicing. You may choose your own scenario or change the imaginary scenes from time to time. The important part is to visualize the scene in sufficient detail so that it completely absorbs your attention. The more absorbed you are, the deeper your state of relaxation.
To practice visualization, follow these guidelines and try imaging the scene described below. You may even want to tape-record yourself reading the scene, so that you can play it back as you drift off to sleep.
· Lie down, or sit in a very comfortable chair in a quiet room. Close your eyes, breath deeply. You may want to do a series of deep abdominal breaths until you’re really feeling relaxed.
· Now, pretend you have all the time in the world, no pressing needs, no aliment or hassles of any kind. You are feeling healthy, your body is calm, open to pleasure and relaxation.
· Imagine you are on a knoll of lovely sea grass, overlooking a long, wide sandy beach by a calm, sapphire-coloured ocean. The tide is a long way out. The gentle waves are rhythmically breaking on the shore. The temperature is about 75 degrees, there is no wind and the sun is shining. Tiny, puffy white clouds drift by occasionally, a few sea gulls float about the perimeter of your vision. You are completely alone, no other soul is near by. There are no insects, no such thing as sunburn, nothing to disrupt this idyllic place. It is a safe haven of beauty and tranquillity. Negative thoughts and worries have no place here.
· Imaging you are walking across the knoll, down onto a wide set of wooden steps. They are warm and smooth under your bare feet. You walk down to the beach where you stretch out on the warm, fine white sand. You close your eyes and breath deeply. Feel the warm air coming in and out of your body. You feel your body getting very, very heavy. It feels almost as though you are sinking into the warmth of the sand. Your limbs feel relaxed, your mind feels free, peaceful, serene, happy. The sun beats down in a healing, leisurely pattern, your body feels very much at one with the elements that have come together to pleasure and heal you. You have an overall feeling of warmth and comfort. You feel utterly calm, utterly content. You open your eyes only to watch the lazy sky- trolling of the gulls as they soar about in slow joyous arcs. You are feeling rejuvenated and healed, you are at peace. You may drift into a light sleep.
· When you wake up or decide to come back from your visualization, do so slowly. Walk yourself back up the warm steps, back to the world above the beach oasis. Feel the peace in your limbs, in your torso, in your mind.
· Validate, maybe by speaking out loud, how good you feel. Take some deep breaths, stretch and relax your hands above your head and welcome your daily life back.