Your imagination is a powerful tool that perhaps doesn’t get as much use as it once did. Just like anything, exercising our imagination takes practice. Over time, we can develop the conscious ability to visualize our way towards less stress and reduced anxiety. Sounds great right? Even better, the process of developing our imagination can be fun and relaxing along the way.
So, how often do you use your imagination as a tool for support, self-care, and mental health? Read on to explore a beginner visualization technique for reduced stress and anxiety:
A Walk Along the Beach
Find somewhere to sit or lie down quietly, away from as much noise and distraction as possible. Begin by simply breathing deeply, fully, and slowly. On your inhale, breathe into your belly and watch as it gently rises, and then falls on your exhale. As you breathe out, give yourself permission to release deep sighs, beginning to feel yourself physically and mentally relax with each one.
When you feel relaxed, invite your imagination to open up. Picture a beautiful beach, and see yourself standing on the shore. Take some time to simply observe what you noticed around you at this beach. What do you see? What does it smell like? How does the breeze or sunshine feel on your skin? Can you imagine hearing the sounds of the ocean waves breaking on the shoreline?
While you take your time imagining this serene and soothing environment, remember to continue breathing in and out, just as the waves ebb and flow.
Now, if you feel ready to, begin imagining yourself walking along the beach. As you take one mindful step in front of the other, you continue to notice the peaceful beauty that surrounds and supports you. Breathe it in with each step.
Enjoy this soothing visualization for as long as it feels good for you. When you are ready to come out of it, simply take 3 grounding breaths and call your awareness back to your body where it rests in the present space.
Notice how you feel after this visualization. Notice how your body feels. Know that you can do this practice anytime you need to, and that you can allow your imagination to take you anywhere you'd like to go. Enjoy exploring and experimenting with the healing power of your own imagination!