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Harness The Power of Guided Imagery To Relieve Stress

“The stress of sameness” is the same as saying I am doing the same thing over and over again and I do not know why I am doing it anymore.

If you are having any thoughts or feelings related to this idea, I want you to do me a favor and open up your mind to an imagery exercise. After you have read through the presented imagery exercise a couple of times, I want you to close your eyes…and live it through your senses. By doing this, it is my hope that you will overcome the stress of sameness and routine that we all face on a daily basis.

Imagery Exercise (Picture yourself as a little boy or little girl again):

Go back to the time when you were little and young. Go to a summer lake retreat. See yourself walking down to the shore on the beach. Look out onto the lake and see the waves capsizing  in the deep blue water.  Look down at your feet at the shore side. The waves are lapping in, gently cooling your feet. There is a canoe beside you, and no one else is around. The canoe wavers back and forth very subtly, coaxing you to hop in and go for a paddle. Now, look across and beside to all of the adjoining shores and feel the breeze move through your hair. You run your hand through your hair, almost mimicking the strength of the wind.

Thoughtfully, you refocus your sight on the shores and feel an incredible sense of relaxation wash over you. You feel complete, and you feel whole. You are alive and it feels good to be alive. With that replenishing feeling coursing through you,  it is time to step in the canoe and head out onto the water. As you move away from shore, you hear the sifting of sand beneath you during the dislodge. It is just you now – you and the water. You make a few paddle strokes and get past the raft. The wind is blowing stronger now and you use determination to power you forward.

As you get midway through the lake, you begin to see a distant vision of the far shore. Satisfied with the progress made, you place the  paddle down perpendicular to the canoe. You stretch back and relax, letting out a deep breath and breathing in the freshness of woodland air. Enriched by the cleanliness of the air, you lean back and tilt your head up toward the sun, welcoming the warm rays of sunshine on your face and in your soul. You are alive again and your lungs are expanding and contracting freely.

Just off to your right you see a small rock-faced inlet where there is fish, turtles and life. The giant evergreens tower above, casting long and lazy shadows. They sway in the wind with such distinct and profound effortlessness. The trees are a part of nature and they are a part of you. They are there for you – rekindling your senses.

Awakening from your dreamlike state, a feeling of weightlessness sets in. There is not a piece of you that does not feel whole – you are complete. And by being completely complete, you are also nothing at the same time. And almost nothing is as satisfying as feeling like nothing. To feel like nothing is to feel weightless.

In the wake of your weightlessness, you pick up the paddle and let the droplets of water skim down the edge of your oar. You refocus your sights on the distant shore and dip the paddle in the water again. You hear the gentle ripping sound of the paddle in the water. You dig in again and see the small swirls of water eddy away behind you. You are satisfied with your progress, invigorated again to move toward the final destination – the distant shore that is your destiny.

**If you have the time, please read this exercise a couple of times. After you have done that, close your eyes and let your senses do the rest.

We all know what it is like to experience the monotony of life. It is normal. It is just fine. Sometimes though, the sameness and boredom can overcome us. It is in these times when you need to close your eyes and indulge and awaken your senses to remind yourself that you are alive.

Where do you stand? Feel free to share thoughts or comments.

Be good to yourself,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne

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