Using the power of your mind to evoke a positive response, guided
imagery can reduce stress and slow heart rate, stimulate the immune system, and
reduce pain. As part of the rapidly emerging field of mind and body medicine, guided
imagery is being used in various therapeutic settings, and, when properly
can also serve as a highly effective form of self-care.
In this exercise, you will be creating in your mind a totally relaxing
setting for yourself, one that involves lying on the warm sand, hearing the
sounds of the ocean, letting the warm water wash over you. This is the
method I have found works best for me. If you do not want to use the beach and
ocean setting, you can change this to a setting that works best for you.
a. Lie down on your back, on a mat or a blanket placed on
the floor, or sit comfortably in a chair. Relax your body and let your
breaths come naturally. Place your hands on your sides.
b. Imagine you are lying on a beach, you can feel the warm
sand under you while the sun warms you from head to toe. You can hear the
waves from the ocean as they gently wash up against the shore. You can
smell the salt water and feel a few drops of the ocean from the spray of the
waves. Do whatever you need to do to create this image in your mind's eye.
c. Now imagine that the warm ocean water runs up on the
shore and over your feet. These waves totally penetrate your skin, bones
and muscles of your toes, heels, bottoms and sides of your feet... then this warm
water runs back into the ocean, carrying with it any tension, pain or distress
that you were feeling in that part of your body.
d. Now this warm ocean water runs up a little higher,
covering both your feet and ankles. Again, these warm ocean waves totally
penetrate your feet and ankles. As these waves run back into the ocean,
they carry with it any tiredness, tension or stress that were present in your
feet and ankles.
e. Imagine the waves run up even higher, as far as your
knees. Again, these waves totally penetrate your skin, bones, muscles from
your knees to the bottoms of your feet... and as the warm ocean water runs back
into the sea, the water takes with it any negative feelings, any tiredness or
pain you might be experiencing there.
f. Now this warm ocean water runs up even higher, as far as
your waist. Totally penetrating the lower half of your body... and as the
water runs back into the sea it carries with it any feelings of anxiety, tension
or pain that you might be feeling there.
g. Now the waves run up midway to your chest, totally
penetrating you from the middle of your chest down to the bottoms of your
feet... and as the water flows back into the sea, it takes with it any pain or
distress that you might be feeling.
h. Now this warm ocean water runs up to your shoulders,
totally covering your arms and body from the neck down. This healing
liquid totally penetrates your body... and as it runs back into the sea it
carries with it all feelings of anxiety, stress or discomfort you might have
i. Now imagine the warm ocean water covers your entire
body. You have no difficulty breathing because this healing liquid quickly
penetrates your face and scalp, as well as the rest of your body... and as the
water runs back into the sea, it takes with it any tension, pain or discomfort
you might still be feeling in any part of your body.
j. Imagine the waves running up your body and covering it
completely several times. Imagine the warm ocean water penetrating your
entire body... and then falling back into the sea, taking with it all of the
fatigue, stress and tension in your entire body.
k. If there is any part of your body that still feels tense
or stressed, direct the warm ocean water there. The warm water penetrates
that part of your body and then falls back into the sea, taking with it any
stress or tension left in that part of your body.
l. Now take a few minutes to enjoy the feeling of comfort
and vitality coursing through your body. Let your breath come naturally
and let yourself completely experience the way your body is feeling.
m. Come back slowly by taking a deep breath into your
lungs. Slowly move your arms and hands. Take several minutes to
slowly bring yourself back before opening your eyes.
Robertson, Dr. John. "Guided Imagery." Relaxation Techniques. , . 11 November 2003.