If you’ve been following along with our 30-day Overcoming Anxiety Challenge, I hope you’re starting to feel positive about the ways you can take control of your anxiety through some simple life modifications. These changes can reduce the intensity and regularity of your anxious feelings, for sure. Sometimes, though, a burst of nervousness or panic can hit you out of nowhere.
There are various relaxation exercises that can help in times like these. One of these is to use the power of visualizing to your advantage. Keep reading to discover just what this strategy is and what’s involved in using visualization to calm down.
The idea of visualization exercises can seem a bit intimidating at first. It involves actively picturing yourself in a place that is soothing and relaxing to you.
Essentially putting yourself in different surroundings is a powerful method to trick your mind into believing you are in a safe space that makes you feel happy and at peace. It’s a way to self-soothe or calm yourself when you need it.
Let’s break down the steps involved in an ideal visualization session.
The first and most important step is to choose your safe place. It can be a real spot you’ve visited in the past or even somewhere close to you that you encounter regularly. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be somewhere you’ve physically experienced or one that exists in reality. This is an exercise in imagination, after all.
If you’re a creative person, you may want to bring a whole new world to life in your mind, an ideal place that would delight all of your senses. Make your visualized space personal in as many ways possible in order to receive the greatest effects. The space you create should be the one you always go to in your mind when you need to calm yourself quickly, so make sure it resonates with you strongly.
When actually putting visualization into practice, you want to find a spot that’s comfortable. Doing so will make it much easier to take your mind where it needs to go.
If suddenly finding yourself in a crowd has brought on a bit of a panic attack, seek out a place to retreat like a semi-empty coffee shop or even a locked restroom in a pinch. Make yourself as comfortable as you can before imagining your special space. Then close your eyes and start to think of yourself truly being there. Think about the sights and sounds around you.
Consider why this spot makes you feel good, and embrace those feelings. Surround yourself with as many details as your mind can summon and let yourself embrace each of them. Be mindful of your body’s state at the moment. Feel the tension release from your individual muscles.
If anxious thoughts begin to creep in, picture yourself actually removing or destroying them. You can visualize the anxiety as a dark cloud that is banished by a ray of sunlight or some other physical object that you can rid yourself of.
Visualization can be a powerful technique for taking control of your anxiety the minute it strikes. With some practice and an open mind, you’ll find yourself in control of your anxious feelings and enjoying this quick mental retreat.
Here is a simple and quick meditation to try today.