Guided Imagery 1, Special Water
To get started, sit up straight in a comfortable chair, with your feet on the floor. If there is a more comfortable position for you, certainly use it. Sitting up will help you focus on the exercise. If any step in the exercise isn’t comfortable, either physically or emotionally, just focus on your breathing during that step instead.
Slowly close your eyes, or focus on one spot on the floor or wall. Invite your body and mind to begin to relax. Begin to focus on your breathing, following your breath as it comes into your body and goes out of your body. Take 2 slow, relaxed deep breaths, watching your breathing come and then go out. Then return your breathing to a normal rate and normal depth, and continue to watch your breath. Imagine that with each breath in, you’re breathing in comfort and relaxation, and with each breath out, you’re breathing out any discomfort or worry.
Now, focus on your shoulders, tightening those muscles by raising your shoulders up to your ears. And on the count of 3, relax, 1, 2, 3. Let your shoulders drop back and down. Now I’ll have you focus on your feet, tightening those muscles by pushing your feet into the floor. And on the count of 3, relax, 1, 2, 3. Let any tension or discomfort flow out through the tips of your toes.
And now I’ll have you imagine walking along the beach in the evening and coming upon a pool of water. If you look into this pool, you’ll notice shades of blue, and also a special, white glow coming from the water. Imagine taking off your shoes and noticing some steps into the pool. Take a first step into the water so the water comes up to your ankles.
Notice the comfortable, warm temperature of the water. You may also begin to notice that wherever the water touches your body, you feel more and more comfort and relaxation. The water is washing away any discomfort or tension. As the water soaks into your feet, you may notice that your feet are becoming slightly numb.
Now step down onto the second step of the pool, so that the water goes up to your knees. Again, you may notice that wherever the water touches you, you feel more and more comfortable, slightly numb. This white, glowing water is soaking into your body and washing away any discomfort.
Now step down further into the water, sitting on a step, so that the water comes up to your waist. Again, feel the comfortable, warm temperature. As you sit down in the water, let your arms drift slowly into the water. Imagine raising them up again and noticing that the special, white glow is remaining on your arms. Again, notice that wherever the water touches your body, you find your body becoming more and more relaxed, more and more comfortable. Any discomfort is being washed away. The water is comforting both your skin and deeper down into your body.
Next, move down to a lower step so the water reaches up to your neck, totally supporting your body. It is reaching any area of your body that has discomfort, slowly making your whole body more and more comfortable. As the water sinks into your body, comfort and relaxation sink in with it, numbing any area of your body that has any discomfort. You are becoming more and more comfortable, more and more relaxed. Continue sitting in the water, enjoying the comfort you’re experiencing. (Pause here for several minutes or longer.)
Know that you can return here at any time. And invite your body and mind to continue to feel comfortable and relaxed, even as your attention turns elsewhere. Slowly begin to come out of the pool, one step at a time. Imagine noticing that the special, white glow remains on your skin, continuing to bring comfort and relaxation to your body, and continuing to bring slight numbness to any areas where it’s no longer necessary for your body to feel discomfort. Dry off with a fluffy towel by the side of the pool.
Now to bring this exercise to a close, I’ll count down from 10 to 0, and when I reach zero, you can slowly open your eyes.
10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5…
Continuing to feel comfortable and relaxed, and slightly numbness in any areas where it’s no longer necessary for you body to feel discomfort.
4… 3… 2… 1… 0.
Slowly open your eyes, take a deep breath in and out, and gently wiggle your fingers and toes. You are ready to continue your day.
The guided imagery exercises described here are offered as possibilities, and you can try each of them separately. What may make guided imagery even more useful for you is to personalize the image you use. Use any imagery you’d like that helps you imagine your discomfort decreasing. For example, a patient of mine who liked to garden imagined watering the areas in which she had discomfort with healing water, and imagined using a trowel to remove the areas of discomfort as if they were rocks in her garden. Be creative and try different ones.