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Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax

Table of Contents


Introduction

Have you ever been in the middle of a stressful situation and wished you could be somewhere else—like lying on a tropical beach? Guided imagery helps you use your imagination to take you to a calm, peaceful place.


How do you do guided imagery?

To give guided imagery a try, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes.
  2. Start by just taking a few deep breaths to help you relax.
  3. Picture a setting that is calm and peaceful. This could be a beach, a mountain setting, a meadow, or a scene that you choose.
  4. Imagine your scene, and try to add some detail. For example, is there a breeze? How does it feel? What do you smell? What does the sky look like? Is it clear, or are there clouds?
  5. It often helps to add a path to your scene. For example, as you enter the meadow, imagine a path leading you through the meadow to the trees on the other side. As you follow the path farther into the meadow you feel more and more relaxed.
  6. When you are deep into your scene and are feeling relaxed, take a few minutes to breathe slowly and feel the calm.
  7. Think of a simple word or sound that you can use in the future to help you return to this place. Then, when you are ready, slowly take yourself out of the scene and back to the present. Tell yourself that you will feel relaxed and refreshed and will bring your sense of calm with you.
  8. Count to 3, and open your eyes. Notice how you feel right now.

It may help to have an instructor or audio recording to follow. You can also use a script (a set of written instructions), but hearing the instructions may be a better way to relax into the process.


References

Other Works Consulted


Credits for Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health


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