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wellness / mental health

Guided Imagery for Anxiety

by BetterSleep
Jul 23 • 5 min read

Modern life is stressful. Every day we face challenges that can trigger feelings of anxiety. While this is normal, if you’re feeling stressed constantly, this can start to take a toll on your overall health.

Guided imagery is a way to manage your stress. This method uses visualization techniques to encourage your body and mind to enter a relaxed state. An example includes visualizing being on a warm tropical beach, laying in a hammock while the sea laps up at the shore.

Benefits of Guided Visualization for Anxiety

Guided imagery for anxiety has been proven to positively affect health and general well-being and those suffering from social anxiety. The many benefits include:

Reduce stress and anxiety

In 2014, a study was published where one group of women with fibromyalgia practiced guided imagery for 10 weeks and a second group carried on with their normal routine. When the study finished, the guided imagery group reported a significant decrease in feelings of stress and anxiety.

Improve sleep health

Prolonged stress and anxiety can make it hard to sleep. With guided visualization, you can improve how your body copes with stress.

Manage and decrease pain

Too much stress can make pain feel worse than it is. Guided imagery may help to decrease post-surgery pain and ease pain in cancer patients.

Minimize depression symptoms

Depression is often associated with a negative mental image you have of yourself. Guided imagery may help you turn negative images into positive ones.

How to Practice Guide Visualization?

Download the BetterSleep app for free, and click on a guided meditation for anxiety and stress relief. Visualize being in peaceful, relaxing surroundings while meditating. Without an audio recording, follow this visual meditation:

  1. Find a comfortable space and sit or lie down.
  2. Let the eyes close, and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Start a visualize a peaceful scene like a calm beach or a place in nature.
  4. Think about the scents, sights, and sounds that you would feel while enjoying this beautiful place.
  5. Picture what you’d be doing there, like walking over crunchy leaves or gently swinging in a hammock on the beach.
  6. Continue taking deep breaths and relaxing in the peaceful scene for several minutes.
  7. After 5 minutes, open your eyes slowly. Build up to 15 minutes as you become more comfortable.

If you struggle with visualization exercises, try doing them after yoga or a progressive muscle relaxation session. By getting your body relaxed first, your mind may find it easier to relax and enjoy visualizations for meditation. Don’t forget to download the BetterSleep app, where you can find many guided meditations, soothing sleep sounds, and relaxation tips.

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