How Does Visualization Promote Relaxation and Stress Reduction?
How does visualization promote relaxation and stress reduction? This is an interesting question that deserves an answer. Indeed, why is it so? A number of people are talking about visualization, but what exactly is this process? Can it truly alleviate stress? Before we answer this question, we have to establish some facts about how stress is generated.
How is Stress Generated?
Stress can be generated by the type of thoughts that you harbor in your mind. No matter what the situation is, if you don’t believe that it’s stressful, it won’t be stressful for you. On the other hand, no matter how trivial an incident is, if you think it’s stressful; then, it would be stressful for you. In short, it’s the way you think that makes things or events stressful for you.
A negative frame of mind (pessimist) will, most likely, turn every event stressful. Consequently, a positive frame of mind (optimist) would perceive events as challenges and opportunities to learn; hence, would consider them as less stressful.
What is Visualization?
Visualization, also called guided imagery, is the process wherein you imagine in your mind the behavior that you want to achieve. An example is imagining you are in a serene and quiet beach breathing in the relaxing briny water, and the soft wind coming from the sea. You visualize yourself in a ‘reality’ that you have created in your mind.
How can You promote Relaxation and Stress Reduction by Doing Visualization?
Here are simple steps to do it.
1. Choose a safe and secure venue
Your bedroom or study is the best place to be. But ensure that you could do your visualization undisturbed. The temperature of the room must neither be too cold nor too hot.
2. Find a comfortable position
You can sit on the floor cross-legged - yoga style. If you don’t feel comfortable with this position, you can sit comfortably on a chair with your back straight and your hands on your lap, palms up. Avoid lying down, as it might be too comfortable; letting you fall asleep.
3. Close your eyes and perform breathing exercises
Breathe in deeply through your nose, and exhale forcibly through your mouth, Do these several times, mentally instructing yourself to relax until your breathing becomes stable.
4. Visualize in your mind that you’re relaxed
For visualization to succeed, all your senses must participate. Imagine yourself in a place where you usually feel relaxed and calm. This can be the beach, in the forest, in the park, or in your own room.
Let’s say your tranquil place is under a tree in the forest. Close your eyes and visualize yourself sitting comfortably under a tree. You can smell the fresh scent of the trees and plants around you. You can hear the sound of birds chirping, the soft rustling leaves against the gentle wind. You can feel the cool breeze playing on your face.
You feel your body relax, with all your tense muscles relaxing, and stress slowly dissipating. Savor the sensations you have visualized, and mentally tell yourself that you’re eliminating all the stress from your body.
5. Repeat this as often as you can
When you get used to the technique, you can do it anywhere, even in the presence of distractions. Keep in mind that you can always reduce your stress, just by thinking positively and visualizing that you’re calm and collected.
We have answered the question: How does visualization promote relaxation and stress reduction? Other methods of reducing stress are through breathing exercises, meditation, massage, Tai Chi, Yoga, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). It won’t be easy to do visualization at first, but once you’ve gained the skill, you would triumph over all stressful situations in your life. Remember these steps and you can reduce your stress considerably. You may want to practice visualization more often, so you won’t have any problems of doing away with your stress and anxiety.