Guided imagery is another technique that is often utilized to enter into a state of deep relaxation. Let’s begin.

First, find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.

Next, either sit or lie in a comfortable position.

Once you’re situated, close your eyes.

Begin to breathe deeply using the breathing techniques we reviewed in previous posts.

Imagine a place or time when you’ve felt most relaxed. While some people use a visual form of imagery to do this, others do not. We each have our own sensory system preferences, so be sure to use the one(s) that make sense to you.

Let’s use a tropical beach as an example. Some of you may focus on the beauty of the location. Some on the sound of the waves, or the feel of the sand between your toes. Others may smell the plumeria in the air, or the heat of the sun on your skin. Maybe you feel the rocking of the waves against your body as you stand or swim in the surf. Perhaps you hear the sound of birds in the distance.

Now that I’ve given you an example, I’d like you to try one on your own. Let’s revisit your childhood. Think about baking cookies, or cooking the family holiday recipes with the elders. Try to remember the sounds, the smells, the feel of the ingredients as you worked with them. The noises in the background. Voices, perfumes, laughs. Even if you didn’t actively participate in the cooking, you have memories of the sights, the sounds, the decorations, the traditions. Having come from a large extended family, I can definitely recall the happy sounds of children running and playing in the background. How many sensory memories can you recall?

It doesn’t matter what you choose to use as your imagery, as long as it takes you back to a time or place in your life when you felt safe.

Once you have fully embraced your images, try to relax even further. Go back to that place or time. Try to become one with it again. Stay there as long as you can or need to to feel fully relaxed and recharged.

When you’re ready to come back, do so slowly. Count to ten while breathing deeply, engage in progressive muscle relaxation to ease back in, or simply become aware of your current surroundings before coming to a sit or stand position.

This blog is not designed to diagnose, treat, or prevent illnesses or trauma, and Dr. Emick is not responsible for your use of this educational material or its consequences. Furthermore, reading this blog does not create a doctor-patient relationship. The information contained within this blog is not intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate, or best care for any given physical or behavioral health issue, nor does it take into account the unique circumstances that define the health issues of the reader. If you have questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a condition or illness, you should consult your personal health care professional. As always, consult with your personal health care professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs. Dr. Emick reserves the right to modify her positions on a subject based upon new research or data as it presents.