The practice of guided imagery is a great way to regain control of a stressful situation. Guided imagery is a type of visualization relaxation technique where you are guided through a series of images, usually a certain scenery such as a forest or a beach. You can either guide yourself or be guided by someone else (a therapist or prerecorded guide.)
"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
~ Sydney J. Harris
1. Practice guided imagery when you are relaxed so that this exercise comes more naturally to you during times of stress.
Example: You walk deeper and deeper into a forest.
You walk further and further along a beach.
You walk higher and higher up the mountain side.
You feel the warm air against your skin.
You drink fresh spring water.
5. After some time spent in motion, imagine yourself reaching a place where you can rest.
Example: After walking through the forest for a while, you lie down on a patch of mossy grass.
After walking along the beach, you reach your blanket where you rest.
7. After you have rested a while, you can choose to either open your eyes slowly and resume regular activity or choose to fall asleep.
8. Explore the use of guided imagery in conjunction with other relaxation techniques.
A Walk in the Woods
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes after having read the gist of this visualization. Imagine it's a beautiful sunny day and you've just started your walk through a nature park.
Your path meanders through this wooded area. As you begin your walk, you notice how comfortable your body feels with the warm air surrounding you, the sunlight streaming through the tall tree branches.
You walk further along your path and notice the smell of pine. You continue to walk further down the path and notice the sound of birds singing.
You continue to walk further along the path and notice a bubbling stream ahead of you. You walk closer and closer until you reach the stream. The spring water looks so clear. You bend down, cup your hands, and collect water. You drink in the water. The cool water touches your lips and floods your mouth. You swallow the cool water, feeling its slow descent down your throat. The water tastes so pure. You stand back up and continue to walk down the wooded path.
You walk further and further until you reach a soft patch of mossy grass. The emerald green moss is inviting. You decide to lie down on the moss on your back. Your eyes are closed. You feel the softness of the moss against your fingertips. From your toes to your head, each muscle feels relaxed. You notice each breath you take. In this moment, you notice the heaviness of your body against the earth. Your entire body feels relaxed. Your mind is calm. Simply focus on your breathing. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes. (Alternative: Take a nap or go to sleep after this.)
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by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.