Welcome to our Wednesday series for anxious people who have an oversensitive alarm
system, whose “danger scanner” is always on, and who need a little bit of self-care and
positive emotional energy by mid-week (when the tanks are starting to approach
depletion). Calm nature pictures are a great way to “nurture” our insecure selves and
help us stay grounded and in the moment.
Imagery is a mental picture of something not present. If you relax a little, close your eyes, you can create mental pictures. Anxiety comes with a sense of powerlessness especially when we have intrusive thoughts that turn into catastrophic images.
Sad, angry, anxious feelings are caused by self-destructive images, which sometimes serve as self-fulfilling prophecies, which can also go both ways. These mental images (some with auditory elements) are stored in various albums in our minds and they get replayed by the cortex repeatedly. Just like we talk a lot about reframing our negative thoughts, we should try to replace the negative images with positive or neutral ones.
Consistent application of imagery exercises can provide an enduring sense of personal power and control. Our goal is to use imagery to control negative emotions and overcome undesirable behaviors.
Let’s give one a try. Think of it as making a movie and then popping it in the DVD player every time you need to. It’s like replacing a horror movie with a comedy, love story or a cooking show.
This is just one short example:
1. Sit back comfortably.
2. Try to relax your body (shake it off just like a puppy would).
3. Breathe deeply.
4. Let your body get loose.
5. Stretch, tighten and untighten your different muscles in your body (like we learned in
the previous post).
6. Close your eyes.
7. Try to imagine yourself somewhere doing something that makes you feel very calm and
peaceful. You can create whatever images you want.
8. Let’s say it’s a vacation at a beach resort with your loved one. Imagine the sand, the
ocean, the smell, the sun, the palm trees, the hotel, the lazy river, your favorite meal, snorkeling.
9. Create as many details as you can.
10. Every time, your mind gets stuck back in a vicious, anxious grip, go back to the beach, to
the details, keep building every scene of your positive movie.
11. Redirect it to the good movie every time you have the tendency to slip up.
I’d love for you to give this a try and then tell me what your experience was like! Comment below or send me an email, I always love hearing from my readers!
If you are looking for more help managing your stress and anxiety, I want to recommend my course The Overachievers Guide to Managing Anxiety. This course was made with you in mind. How do I know? Well, I was you! I used to live every day with the overwhelming and crushing weight of anxiety. It doesn’t have to be that way, and I’d love to show you another way!
ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier Marriage. Click HERE to check out her free resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or join her at www.ruxandralemay.com for monthly blog posts.