HOW TO USE VISUALIZATION TO REDUCE STRESS & ANXIETY
As a therapist and counselor a great tool that I teach my clients to clear mental stress, tension, and anxiety is visualization. It can be very helpful when your mind is full of thoughts that are negative, incessant, and anxiety provoking. In order to get the best results and benefits from visualization the exercise must be carried out for at least 10 minutes.
The best environment to start to practice visualization is in a quiet one where no one and nothing will disturb you. Make sure to silence your cell phone. Once you have practiced visualization enough where you are comfortable with it you will be able to do it in busier environments such as at work.
You can take the position of sitting, standing, or laying down. Make sure that whatever position you take is a comfortable one. The first step is to close your eyes and move your awareness and attention to your breath. You can achieve this by placing one hand on your upper chest and the other hand on your stomach. When you inhale your stomach should rise, and then it should go down when you exhale. Make sure that your breathing is equally paced by inhaling and exhaling the same amount of air each time. The hand you have on your chest should barely move and all the movement should be focused on your stomach area. This type of breathing is called diaphragmatic breathing.
Once you are comfortable with this technique try to slow down your breathing even more so. This can be accomplished by taking a short pause between each breath you inhale and exhale. You can even keep count by inhaling for 5 seconds, pausing for 3 seconds, and then exhaling for 5 seconds. If your mind becomes distracted please bring your attention back to counting and breathing.
Now move your attention away from your breathing and focus on your feet. Take your time to feel each toe. Picture in your mind the base of your feet and visualize roots growing slowly from the bottom of your feet into the ground. Visualize that these roots go deep into the earth. Feel how you are now rooted deeply and firmly into the earth so that you are stable and grounded like a tree. For a few moments focus on being rooted and grounded with a sense of safety and security.
Now visualize forming above you a cloud of bright and beautiful light. Visualize a bright and beautiful ray of light coming from the cloud descending down from the sky and reaching the top of your head. Feel this ray of light travelling from the top of your head all the way down your body slowly all the way to the soles of your feet. Feel how this ray of light is full of positive healing energy, love, and peace. As this ray of light travels in your body you feel it clearing your mind. Its positive energy and healing power clears your mind of any stressful thoughts and concerns. Visualize the ray of light cycling through your body through each body part leaving you completely at peace and fully relaxed.
When practicing any kind of visualization use all your five senses of touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. The more you practice visualizations the more you will get used to doing them and they will become even easier with time to practice. You can create your own visualizations. For example you can imagine yourself in a waterfall, forest, walking by the ocean, or swimming in a lake. You can buy books or tapes with guided visualizations. You can also do a search on the internet for visualizations as well.
The best way to get the most benefit from using visualization is to practice it every day. You can use it when you wake up in the morning to start your day off with a clear head. You can also use it at night when you are in bed to help you relax to get better sleep.
Using visualizations on a consistent basis will allow your mind to clear and release. Each time you close your eyes to begin the process you will be sending your brain a message that it is time to let go of all stressful thinking or thoughts that might cause anxiety. Visualization is extremely beneficial for people who are struggling with stress, incessant negative thinking, and anxiety. As a counselor and therapist this is a relaxation exercise that I teach all my clients no matter what they have come to counseling for.
ABOUT ESSENCE OF HEALING COUNSELING:
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling with an office located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety, schedule an appointment today.