Anxiety can come out of nowhere…well at least at the conscious level it does (at the unconscious level that is another blog)…and when it hits it can be so debilitating.
The impact of anxiety can be so physical and easy to stop in some and for others it just sits there in your mind doing what it does best…creating negative chatter and thinking.
Having a series of strategies, skills and resources that you can call upon when needed can be the difference between knock back and success (noticed I didn’t use the word failure…failure is just feedback on what not to do next time.)
Visualisation is a form of meditation and is one that easier to do and can be done anywhere, anytime and by any person…as children we pretty much all play make believe…whether that was being a superhero, a teacher, an animal or something more elaborate. Because we have done it before we can do it again, so having a skill that you already know how to do and using it in a focused way will enable you to anchor yourself and beat your anxiety.
Over the past two years I have gained a series of skills and controls that I really could of done with learning when I was much younger and in school. For me one of the biggest times for when my negative thinking crept in was at night time just after getting into bed as the conscious mind is going to sleep…sadly the unconscious mind stays awake.
Now with these new skills whenever I catch myself doing anxiety or negative thinking firstly I acknowledge it as something I am doing…meaning I can choose not to do it too. Then I focus my mind on what I actually want and not what I do not want (as that will continue the negative thinking and anxious behaviour). Then I choose the behaviour and thoughts I want and do it…now with practice I am able to do this quickly, as I was learning this practice I needed to visualise on positive anchors to change the mindset.
Try one of these five visualization techniques highlighted in a blog by Mindful Minutes the next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed to take the edge off.
1. Serene Beach Scene Technique
Public speaking nerves, fear of flying, moving day – Does your mind tend to focus on all that can go wrong? This visualization can help calm your nervous system.
Use it: Anytime you feel anxious, uncertain, or afraid
Visualize yourself lying on a white sandy beach, complete with clear blue skies and gently lapping waves.
Imagine your body sinking into the chair and feel the warmth of the sand on your feet.
Let go of any tension, soften your eyes, and continue to breathe with the rhythm of the rolling waves.
2. Blue Light Technique
Whether you’re about to tackle it or are trying to decompress after you’ve completed it, an important and difficult task can cause anxiety. Light visualizations are helpful for relaxation.
Use it: When you need to relax before (or after) tackling a big task
Visualize yourself surrounded by a glowing orb of blue light.
Breathe in the light and allow it to fill your whole head.
As you breathe out, visualize tension leaving your body as black smoke. It dissolves completely in the light around you.
With each breath, allow your body to gradually fill with the healing blue light until your entire being is clear, like a blue crystal.
3. Ball of Yarn Technique
If you find it difficult to unwind after a long, stressful day, it can be challenging to make the most of your evenings and recharge for tomorrow.
Use it: When you’re unable to unwind after a stressful work day
Picture a small ball of yarn holding all of that residual tension from the day.
Find the tip of the yarn and imagine it slowly unrolling.
The strand gets longer and longer, and you can actually feel your tension unwinding.
When the yarn is completely loose, you can relax and enjoy the night.
4. Liquid Quiet Technique
Life can sometimes feel overwhelming. When bombarded with notifications, requests, and information, it’s often difficult to silence the chattering monkey mind. This visualization can help you silence the noise and focus your thoughts.
Use it: When you feel your mind racing
Visualize ‘quiet’ as a thick, clear liquid, filling your head with peace and quiet.
See it pouring slowly down your body, filling you with the clear liquid until you feel like a liquid ball.
Once you’re in this zone, breathe deeply and stay in this position for a few minutes.
5. Double-Paned Window Technique
You’ve had a long day. All you want to do is get some sleep. But as soon as you close your eyes, your mind begins to race. Whether you’re overloaded at work or worried about the future, sometimes when your head hits the pillow, those unwanted thoughts take over.
Use it: When anxious thoughts are keeping you awake
Picture a bunch of people chatting loudly outside your open window.
Instead of yelling at them, since you have a double paned window, you just calmly close it.
Imagine that the chatting is silenced when the window is fully closed, and you can drift off to sleep without background conversations.