Whether you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, or exhaustion, guided imagery scripts can help calm your mind. Learn how to do it in this article.
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In this article:
Guided Imagery Scripts: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reaching Calmness and Peace
What Is Guided Imagery?
It is a form of stress reduction technique that capitalizes on your imagination. Others call it active daydreaming, only that you have to follow the guide.
This mechanism of healing or coping has been around for a long time, but research is still not over. In other words, there is still a lot to discover about how it works.
One of these studies is from Mayo Clinic. In 2008, the researchers shared that guided imagery works by engaging the part of the brain that regulates emotion.
The brain then transmits the message to other systems of the body. These include the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.
Step 1: Set Your Intention
Before you begin to listen to guided imagery scripts for anxiety or stress, you should start with an intention. Why are you doing this in the first place?
When you know the purpose, you can compare the outcomes with your expectations. You also produce images that suit your needs and desires.
These intentions may include:
- Reduce your feelings of anger
- Let go of negative emotions
- Improve your alertness or cognitive function
- Boost your endurance
- Decrease your anxiety levels
- Help you fall asleep more quickly
- Uplift your mood
- Decrease physical symptoms such as joint pain
Step 2: Clear the Blockage
Remove anything that may disturb you while you’re listening or following the guided imagery script. For instance:
- If you’re trying to follow guided imagery for sleep in the bedroom, turn off your phone or the TV.
- Do you need to do this while in the workplace? Find a quiet place, like the garden or a bathroom stall.
- If you’re at home but have children running around, ask a family member to take the kids outdoors.
Step 3: Begin in a Comfortable Position
Your mind is less likely to wander when you’re in your most comfortable position. This may also be essential as a guided imagery relaxation script may take some time.
Usually, it’s around 10-30 minutes. In some cases, it may be an hour, especially if you’ve already become a pro.
- Sit in a lotus position with your back straight. You may also stick your back to the wall for support.
- Lie on your bed with your hands on the side, palms down. Make sure your head and neck receive some support, perhaps from a pillow.
- Sit on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Your hands may be on your lap, while the back leans firmly on the back of the chair.
Step 4: Listen and Follow the Guided Imagery Scripts
Now, the real practice begins. The guided imagery scripts may be from:
- An instructor or an expert in guided imagery meditation
- A recording (e.g., from apps like Spotify or YouTube)
- Your own script
A guided imagery relaxation script can be specific. You’ll know it by cues.
For example, if it’s for sleep, it may tell you to think about the activities you did for the day and the tasks for tomorrow. Then, it helps you clear your mind from these thoughts.
Usually, they follow the same pattern:
- It takes you to a calm, serene, lovely place, which may be imaginary or real. For beginners, it may be easier to recall the most beautiful destination you’ve been to.
- There, you take in the sensations. Notice the sound, the sights, the smell, the taste, and the feelings.
- Then, you pay attention to yourself. What do you feel about being there, and what do you feel now?
- While you’re there, you perform some deep breathing exercises. A 2018 systematic review revealed that this type of breathing could positively affect your nervous system and parts of the brain that deal with emotions and stress.
- You can be in this place for as long as you like, but it may end with an affirmation.
Note: To succeed with these guided imagery exercises, you can play ambient sounds. These bolster your imagination and make the “destination” clearer and even feel more real.
Step 5: Speak Your Affirmation
It’s not uncommon for guided imagery scripts to end with an affirmation.
What is an affirmation? A positive statement that may change your negative mindset, attitude, or behavior. It may be specific to your goal or intention for the exercise.
If you’re listening to a script of guided imagery for anxiety, it may end with the following statements:
- When you open your eyes, your heart rate and breathing go back to normal or slow down.
- As soon as this session ends, your mind is calm but focused.
- When you open your eyes, you feel at peace and relaxed.
The best affirmations do not deny the reality or your negative experience, whether it’s stress or anxiety. Instead, they help you tweak your responses to it so you can cope better.
The Benefits and Challenges of Guided Imagery Therapy
Guided imagery scripts proved to be helpful for a lot of people, such as those suffering from physical pain. A 2018 research showed how it improved mood and quality of life for those with multiple sclerosis.
What is multiple sclerosis? A progressive chronic disease that involves gradual damage to the sheaths. These are layers that protect the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.
Another study, this time in Frontiers in Psychology, revealed that guided imagery for anxiety works even if you’re not in nature. It can still decrease anxiety, although the reduction may be higher when you’re in a natural environment.
Guided imagery scripts are appealing since:
- They don’t need medications, but they can complement supplements like Chill Pill.
- You can do it anywhere, even at the comforts of your home.
- A therapist or guide can teach you the basics, and you can do it by yourself.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of these exercises is improving your focus. During the first sessions, you may find your mind wandering.
In some cases, the outcome may be the opposite. The frustration from not being able to concentrate may only aggravate your anxiety and stress.
When it comes to guided imagery scripts, though, the benefits outweigh the challenges. You can further reduce the struggle by experimenting on the different types and then picking what you feel suits you best.
Do you think guided imagery scripts help cope with stress and anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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