By Robin Levick, MFT
Guided imagery meditation can be a helpful tool for stress reduction. The imagination is a powerful thing, and by immersing yourself in an embodied imagining of a place that is soothing or calming to you, you can calm and sooth your body and mind. While it is often something that you listen to, the idea with a guided imagery meditation is to become immersed in a sensual experience with the help of a narrative. This can happen from written words, if you open up your imagination and your awareness of sensation as you read. You might also try writing your own, as a way to imagine and then remember a scenario that you would find particularly relaxing and stress relieving.
Here is an example. As you read it, try to really feel into the experience:
Imagine you are walking out onto a beautiful beach in a small cove. It’s mid morning, and the air is warm and thick, almost viscous. The soft sand doesn’t burn your feet, allowing you to take your time walking to the water, and a slight onshore breeze brings the smell of the ocean towards you in tantalizing puffs. You walk to the edge of the water, and watch tiny shells roll up and down the sand at the edge of the waves. As you wade in, you find that the water is somehow warm and brisk at the same time. You take a few steps out, feeling the water creep up your body with each step, and you reach a depth where you are just on the edge of standing and being suspended, and you realize that if you let go, you will be held. The current is gently swirling in a circle, bounded by the edges of the small cove, and you can almost completely surrender and be swept around, slowly, slowly, keeping your head above water with only the occasional effort. As your find yourself relaxing more and more you become aware of a deep sense of contentment in your body, and become fascinated with aspects of your sensory awareness: The sensation of your toes dragging along the sand, the sound that is made when an ear gets partially submerged, the way the water feels against your skin, the way the sand swirls in the clear water. You lose track of time, floating…..drifting….