One of the reason I like using stress reduction visualisation techniques to relax my mind is because they can be easily used anytime and anywhere. You don't need any extra props for them, just a chair to sit or a couch to lay down.
When it comes to these relaxation exercises, you can do them on your own or you can use a guided exercises. I usually suggest to start with a guided exercise, in this way you can learn how the technique works and afterwards you can just do it on your own.
In this article I will show you my favourite exercises from YouTube and share with you how these exercises can help you in relieving stress. In the end of the article you will be able to create a specific visualisation exercise to help you improve your stressors!
Let's jump right to it.
How to master visualisation exercises?
I am not going to lie to you, it does take some time to master visualisation. The below tips and tricks can help you to get the results you would like, not necessarily faster but with higher certainty.
Make a commitment that you will do the exercise from beginning until end. The below exercises are short, 5-10 minutes. Agree with yourself that no matter what, you will finish the exercise.
Practice consistently. The more you practice these exercises, the easier they will become. Let's say that you will try doing these stress relieving visualisation exercises 3 times a week. Doesn't sound much right? However make sure that you are doing them at least 3 times.
Be patient with yourself. The first few times it will probably won't be easy to follow the exercises, you attention might wonder away or you might feel uncomfortable. Once you get the hang of it, or give your own spin to the exercise, they will become easier.
Relax, this is not something difficult or mystical... You are most likely already visualising during the day, it's called day-dreaming. Whenever your thoughts wonder away, or you thinking how you are going to take care of your tasks, or what are you going to do on the weekend etc., you are doing a sort of visualisation exercise.
The only difference here is that you are going to do it more focused on a specific goal (reducing stress) and you will do it more vividly, more powerful.
Get a good headphone or earphones in order to close the outside world out. If you can find a quite place, than you can listen without headphones.
You can make the visualisation experience more relaxing by using aromatherapy or putting on relaxing music. Aromatherapy is great for reducing stress and it can be combined perfectly with visualisation, meditation and other relaxation exercises.
Same is true for relaxing music, however I would recommend that you use relaxation music, once you are doing these visualisations on your own, so it doesn't distract your from your guide. Here you can find a compilation of more than 15 of my favourite relaxation music videos.
In order to get into a relaxing state faster, you can do a breathing exercise before starting the visualisation exercise itself. Simple deep breathing can do the trick or you can pick one of these breathing exercises. It will help you to slow down and make the most out of your relaxation efforts.
Alright, let's see those visualisation exercises.
Dream Place visualisation exercise
This is one of my favourite visualisation exercises. The reason being is that it always gives me an extremely positive and happy feeling.
The idea behind this exercise is to visualise your favourite location on earth, which makes you feel relaxed. This can be an imaginary location or a real one. You can think of anything, for example:
- On a Caribbean beach with white sand and blue water
- In the peaceful forest in a wooden cabin
- At home in your favourite arm chair
- At your parents place where you feel safe and at ease
- In a mountain area with beautiful views
Your options are limitless, it's probably something else for everyone. For me, my favourite place to relax is on our catamaran, gently rocking on the waves on a sunny day, while one of my feet is hanging in the cool water.
As I mentioned in the general tips section, try imagine your favourite location as vividly as possible. Include scents, noises, imagine the environment etc. The more vividly you can imagine the location the better your mind will be able to relax.
As with any other exercises, you can try this guided relaxation version from YouTube, the first few times you try to do the exercise.
This cool visualisation meditation is created by the 'Honest Guys' on Youtube who have a cool channel with different guided meditation exercises.
In this specific video, they walk you through a beautiful scenery, helping you imagine the sounds of waves, the scent of flowers and the rays of the sun, etc.
It's a relatively short exercise, not longer than 6 minutes, which makes it a great time-out exercise, when you need a quick break.
Leo fromActualized.org has lot of good videos on Youtube. In one of his videos he is discussing how he thinks about visualisation and in the end of the video he provides an example for a visualisation exercise.
It's a longer video than usual but the first 17:35 seconds is only about explaining how Leo thinks about visualisation. In the second part of the video, he walks you through a visualisation technique.
I think it's nice to listen to it as it can help you understand visualisation a bit better and get some ideas for creating an exercise for yourself as well.
How to help improving your stressors with visualisation?
Next to the above guided visualisation exercises, I highly encourage you to create your own exercise. Not necessarily for relaxation, but in order to help you deal with stress.
If you listened to the above video from Leo, you already know. You can use visualisation to help you condition your brain to focus on specific things you want to achieve.
While this might sound very unlikely, you can test it easily. Think about a specific car brand and model that you don't often see. Or even a car colour. Every time you leave your house, remind yourself that you are curious about this type car.
Funnily enough, you will start noticing this car model more and more often. Same happened with me after we bought our current car (an old MitsubishiColt). While we were buying I was thinking to myself, super weird, I don't recall seeing this car ever on the roads, 'I guess it's not that popular'. After driving it for a few days, this specific car type was popping up more and more often, to the point where I thought it's ridiculous that so many people has it.
Long story short, with the help of visualisation you can help your mind to focus on some specific outcomes you would like to achieve.
It works also perfectly to help you with stress management. By visualising positive actions and outcomes, you can help yourself in taking difficult action steps and/or make strong reminders for specific outcomes that you usually might not do.
How to do that you might ask?
Creating your own visualisation technique
- How would your day look like? How would you feel like? Would that make you happy, excited or more balanced maybe? How would your colleagues or loved ones react or look at you?
- For example: Talking with your boss, to reduce the work load or discuss priorities, working more efficiently or asking colleagues to help out, etc. This will help you to feel more peaceful, relaxed. You will be less worn out in the end of the day and you can have more interaction with your colleagues, instead of working the whole day like a robot. You will be more active home with your loved ones and have more energy over in the end of the day.
I hope these stress reducing visualisation exercises will help you on your journey of stress management. I find visualisation amazing and I also use it to reaffirm my goals in life and a healthy and positive lifestyle.
As a summary, you can use the above videos to relieve stress with visualisation. These exercises are great to provide a very relaxing experience. With a little practice you can use them anywhere, anytime and they are free. Awesome.
You can also use visualisation techniques to create your own mental exercise and use it to improve on your stressors. You can use it to reaffirm positive action and outcomes and help you take action and make positive reminders.
Don't forget however that taking action is just as important as the positive visualisation, especially in the second type of exercise.
As always, I would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments if you use some type visualisation technique, maybe drop a link to it and let us know your experiences with it! You can help others improve on their stress.
Relax and be well,