Deep relaxation of the body and mind may feel threatening if you are a person who has always been in tight control of everything. But when you allow yourself to become deeply relaxed you are able to let go of the need to be controlling and instead are able to take charge of your life. You will be able to consider options and make better choices.
Visualization can enhance any relaxation exercise. It is especially effective when used in any healing process such as recovery from surgeries, illnesses or simply using visualization to see yourself building a strong immune system. Relaxation and visualization can help manage and reduce pain levels.
Our mind responds to images as well as words
Close your eyes for a second and imagine you are cutting in half a plump, juicy lemon. Pick up a piece and put it into your mouth. Suck on that lemon for awhile.
If you are like me, the image of sucking on a lemon is enough to make your mouth pucker and you can almost taste the intense sour flavor. There is an immediate response to the image you hold in your mind.
Remember a time when you were relaxed and enjoying a special event. You will find that your body responds to what you experienced before.
Think of visualization as using positive images you want to hold in your mind that will increase your ability to deeply relax. As your body relaxes it is able to heal and restore itself. Visualization is a quick and easy way to enhance that relaxation and healing process.
Creating a safe, special place
If you have lived your life remaining hyper alert to everything around you that might cause you harm, the process of relaxation can be challenging and even intimidating. Relaxing in the real world for you means putting yourself in potential harm’s way. Safety for you is maintaining a rigid hyper alert state.
Remember, you are simply relaxing in your space. Think of visulazation as creating a safe place in your mind where nobody can enter or intrude unless you give them permission.
Using the relaxation model given in previous blogs, while relaxed create an image of a comfortable and safe place in your mind. Imagine youself in this safe, peaceful and restful place.
Or bring a past memory to your mind when you were in the woods, or sitting next to a pond or stream. Perhaps it is enjoying the beauty of wildflowers or gardens. Perhaps it is at the beach where you can lie down and feel the warm sand and smell the salty ocean spray. Perhaps it is a church where you go in and draw comfort from the spiritual connection to God. Create peaceful and relaxing scenes. Feel the temperature and smell the aromas.
Visualization is a way to bring back the experience of doing nothing and relaxing in that nothing. You are just being.
When you have attained a level of deep relaxation, tell yourself you are ready to resume your duties. Gradually allow yourself to return to the moment, open your eyes, and stretch your muscles to get the blood flowing before getting up.
Fifteen minutes of deep relaxation can be more restful than a night’s sleep.
Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC