Visualization is a method used to calm the mind and body through mental imagery. The concept is compared to daydreaming, in which you visualize an image or scenery to encourage self-calm. Visualization has helped people cope with stress. It also promotes healing so the body can focus on self-repair. People who suffer from panic attacks or anxiety disorder have found visualization useful. When practiced regularly, it may help your mind and body improve its ability to relax and rest through imagery exercises.
What is Visualization and How Does It Help People?
The process includes using calming or serene images to help relax the mind. Visualization helps control anxious thoughts or calm the mind when you feel panic. When the mind gets caught up in worry and anxiety, it is difficult to focus on making decisions and solving problems. Visualization exercises help you train your mind to calm down racing thoughts by focusing on a comfortable environment. Then, you proceed with deep-breathing techniques to help the rest of your body calm down. The process may include engaging in muscle relaxation exercises to encourage in-depth body relaxation.
Most Common Visualization Exercise/Scene
The beach setting is a familiar environment people refer to when practicing visualization exercises. The beach presents a calm and relaxing atmosphere. If you’ve visited a beach before, you know how it can affect all of your body senses. The tranquility of the water waves, the warm sun, and the sound of the ocean water waves and winds together help people unwind. You can practice this exercise yourself or get it as a homework assignment if working with a counselor or therapist. You can read more about therapy options here.
The idea is to close your eyes and visualize yourself at the beach. Take notice of the things surrounding you, including the sky’s color, the movement of the water, and the sand between your toes. As you visualize this scene, relax your body muscles. Some like to change the motion of their breathing and sync it with the water waves’ motion. There is no right or wrong way to do this but do so in a comfortable manner for you. Take your time with the exercise and enjoy the sights with little effort. At the end of the exercise, imagine yourself leaving the beach slowly and remember this is your special place to return to when need. Open your eyes slowly.
Visualization Lets You Get Creative
The beach scene is a great idea, but you can choose any scene to help you get comfortable practicing visualization. You can get as creative as you want with your ideas. You can choose a nature scene such as the mountains, a private island, or a rainforest. The scene you imagine should allow you to use all five of your senses to create a mental state of calmness. It should help your body to relax.
When you are ready to end your exercise, slowly leave the scene by bringing your mind back to the present. Being creative with your scenery encourages you to practice your exercises regularly. Explore other ways to incorporate visualization with other concepts such as meditation and mindfulness.
Gaining benefits from visualization takes practice. Making time during the day includes choosing the best time of day and making it a routine. Practice when your anxiety levels are low. Practice will make it easier in time to use the technique when you need it the most. When you notice anxiety or stress symptoms begin to bother you, it is a good time to start your visualization exercise.