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Stress Management Through Mental Imagery


We aren’t always able to escape from our environment when we are put under stress.  For some, taking a simple walk to clear one’s head is something that must be put off to later.  What we can all do though, is to take a few moments to sit in our chairs and use some mental imagery to melt away our stress.

Used with a deep breathing technique, imagery can be a powerful anti-stress tool.
 
Imagery makes a good use of our imagination. From our imagination we can draw on any number of experiences. We can go back to a time and a place where we were more peaceful, where our surroundings were blissful and beautiful to the eyes.  We can recreate from memory to bring ourselves out of a stressful situation and into an intensely relaxing one.

When you picture a pleasant and relaxing scene in your mind it reduces stress because your body quickly responds by relaxing. On the other hand, if you create an image in your mind of an unpleasant and stressful situation, your stress levels will quickly rise.


Creating Imagery

Many people enjoy listening to a soothing CD of a favourite retreat or similar when doing this imagery

Begin by relaxing into a comfortable chair and breathe deeply.  Try to take deep, cleansing breaths and then release them slowly.  Start by trying to imagine a scene, place or event that you recall as being safe, peaceful, restful, beautiful and happy. Bring all of your senses into this imagery by recalling sounds of cool running water, the song of birds, the smell of fresh cut grass, the heat of the sun, or anything that appeases you. Imagine that you are at a place which is free from stress and pressures.

Concentrate on developing all your five senses.  Try to savour the pictures of serenity.  Smell the freshness of nature.  Feel the warmth and comfort of the sun and the air.  Visualize the beauty of the animals and of nature.  Each image will be different for each person.  Really try to focus on what you can see, taste, touch, smell and feel.

Now imagine that all your stress and worries and concerns are being zapped from your body. Feel each stress point release as if into thin air.  As you feel the stress drain from your body go back to your picture. Relax and breathe deeply.
 
Imagery can substitute your actual experience with something much more ideal.  It allows you a renewed sense of self-confidence that can enable you to take on the stress in your life. During this imagery your body can relax and recharge. Your stress levels lessen and adrenaline disperses in the body.  It gives your mind and body a break from stress, and you have complete mastery over the mind and body during that time. Imagery can be a great life balancer!

Go to the next step of your guide on how to deal with stress: Stress Relief and Physical Relaxation