Yesterday, I shared a mindfulness experience with you to assist you in understanding the concept: https://mbs870.com/2016/07/30/mindfulness
Today, I would like to present the technique of imagery/visualization. This is a technique in which you can apply mindfulness to assist you in managing stress, managing pain, & calming your mind to help you fall asleep. I’ll describe how I use imagery.
I visualize the most tranquil place I can imagine. This is usually some place in nature, like on the lake, in the woods, on the beach, or beside a creek, depending on my situation & mood. For today’s post, I’ll use the lake since I used it as an example in my last post.
First, I find a quiet nook or cranny as my retreat, or if it’s bedtime, lying in bed (with no TV or electronics! -at least until you learn to master imagery, then you can pretty much zone anything out). I close my eyes & picture myself at the lake. I imagine all of the beautiful things in the scene. I paint a picture in my mind of the last time I was there.
I notice my breathing, and it’s shallow, so I take a deep breath in (about 4 seconds), hold it for a moment, and exhale for about 5-6 seconds. I deep-breathe like this throughout the experience. I can see the different shades of blue, and begin to relax. I notice the tenseness in my muscles, and I carry a lot of tension in my jaw, so I relax these areas as best as I can, but I don’t judge myself if I can’t. I just notice the tension and move on. As I imagine the scene & deep-breathe, I become more & more relaxed.
I notice the beating of my heart & it’s beginning to slow as I relax. Focusing on the picture I’ve painted in my mind, I imagine the different things I might be able to see in the scene, the things I might hear, smell, taste, & touch. Taking a deep breath in, I can fully imagine that I’m in my peaceful place at the lake. I breathe in all the positive feelings I get when I’m there. I exhale all of the negativity: thoughts, stress, the ever-scrolling to-do lists. All of the negative is gone. My breathing is deep, nice, and relaxed. My heartbeat sets the rhythm of the scene.
I begin to think of all things I’m grateful for: my salvation, my family & friends, the roof over my head, the food on my table, my job, my ability to do my job…
I begin to drift off to sleep.
This is an example of how I apply imagery/visualization in daily life to help maintain balance. You can do the same just by applying your unique experiences, thoughts, & creativity. Your setting could even be an imaginary one. This is where your creativity can come in. Just remember not to judge yourself if your mind wanders. Notice where it wanders to, take a deep breath, & bring yourself back to your tranquil scene. Imagery/visualization is simple, free, & so helpful in achieving & maintaining balance.
What is your “happy place?”
Feel free to share your journeys in imagery/visualization…