When you are experiencing a difficult, annoying or otherwise unpleasant situation, try IMPROVE the Moment. IMPROVE stands for a group of strategies you can use to add pleasant feelings for a moment and help you get through an unpleasant situation without making it worse.
Let’s start with the I. The I stands for Imagery. Mental visualization–imagery–can be used to distract, soothe, boost courage and confidence, and make future rewards more salient. Using imagery, you can mentally leave a situation by creating a situation different from the actual one you are in. You can also be sure the place you are going to is safe as you are creating it. If you have PTSD, imagery can be used to create a safe place for times when you are experiencing flashbacks.
Imagery can be used for less stressful events, such as when you feel stressed by a demanding day at work or home. You can use it when you wake up and are stressed by the coming day or before a difficult interaction.
What is your safe place? Is it a place you have actually been or an imaginary place at the beach or mountains? Go inside yourself now and build that place in your mind. Create it as if you were painting it, in very specific detail. Picture the furniture, the surroundings, the smells, the sounds, and the specific items that are present. Are there locks on the doors? What is there to help you make wise decisions about your behavior?
Consider writing the imagery down. Practice using this visualization on a regular basis so you will be able to do it easily when you need it.
You can use imagery to picture yourself being very successful in coping with a demanding task or situation. See yourself in detail going through the experience in a confident, effective way.
Live a skill-full life
When you’re stressed, as many of us are now, gratitude is probably not on your list. Grateful for Aunt Mary who criticizes the way you dress? For your cousin who loves to tell you how great his life is going? For the difficult weather that