Stress reduction is a necessary part of modern day life. Stress has been said to be one of the major health problems that we have. Stress, particularly chronic stress, is at the root of many health problems you might suffer.
Relaxation is a way to reduce stress and the effects of stress on your health, both mental and physical. It’s a simple technique but one that few practice on a regular basis.
One way to practice relaxation is to have a comforting visualization that you use on a regular basis. You use this visualization to imagine a safe and peaceful place where you can relax. Your brain and your body cannot tell the difference between what’s really happening and what you are imagining.
Create your visualization. You may choose a real place and stick to details that are true about that place You might create an imaginary place and add whatever is comforting to you. Or you might start with a place you know and add in details that add to your comfort.
You might want to write it down or record it, such as on your phone. The more details you put in the more relaxing this will be. When you record it, you can listen to your recording whenever you ned to do so. When you’re highly stressed it’s difficult to create a visualization.
Breathe: Start your visualization by breathing. For stress reduction you want to breathe out longer than you breathe in.
Record these instructions for yourself: Sit in a comfortable place. Close your eyes or lower them. Take a long, deep breath in through your nose that expands your belly. Count 1,2,3 as you breathe in. Hold for 1, 2, 3. Then breathe out slowly 1,2,3,4,5,6. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Then continue to breath in slowly from your belly (feel your belly expand) and take twice as long to breath out.
The Place: Where do you feel most relaxed? Is it the beach? Is it in the mountains? In your own home? Picture a place that feels safe and peaceful to you.
Now record: I am at ________________.
What you can see: Put yourself in that location. Now look around. What do you see? Describe as much of the location as you can. Include colors, plants, the sky, people, and animals.
What you can hear: What sounds are present? Do you hear cars, birds, dogs, waves, wind, a stream? Music?
Record: I hear__________________________________.
What you smell: You might smell roses, apple pie baking, vanilla, fresh mowed grass, the scent of the ocean, a cologne of someone you love, or the smell of your pet. This is your creation so you can add any smells that are comforting to you.
I smell ___________________________________.
What you can taste: For many, sweets can be comforting. For others salty or crunchy foods. Food from your childhood might be what relax you. Whatever tastes are comforting for you, imagine them as part of your visualization. Describe the taste.
I can taste ________________________________. The _______. (sweetness, tartness) . is on my tongue and I notice the flavors of _____________________.
What you can touch: You might feel the texture of your favorite food on your tongue or the way it feels to pet your dog or cat or horse. You might feel what it’s like to ride a horse or to swing or the feel of warm covers. You might imagine the touch of someone you love.
I can feel ____________________________________.
Now you have your own custom visualization for relaxing and reducing stress. Listen to it everyday and train yourself to live in a more relaxed state.
Live a skill-full life