Seeing our way out of stress
Using visualisation to chemically affect stress
Hi, and thanks again for joining me in video 4 of my stress busting series. In this video we’re going to be looking at visualisation – how to see our way out of stress.
How can we see out way out of stress?
Imagine if, for whatever reason, you woke up tomorrow and all stress was removed from your life. Imagine how good that would feel, doing the things you want to with that constant calm feeling, knowing that you’re in control. Imagine how that would change your life, no longer worrying about what might happen but instead looking forward with confidence, knowing that you can do whatever you want to with absolute ease.
Scientists have shown that by using visualisation, we can expect to see a vast improvement in stress reduction, lower anxiety and decreased symptoms of depression. It even has the power to change the structure of the brain because someone imagining their preferred future is more likely to create those beneficial neural pathways.
How visualisation prepares the mind
When we imagine our life without the problems there, we prepare our mind for the outcome we want. Since the brain can’t tell the difference between what we imagine and what’s real, it will respond as though it’s happening, right now, by filling our bodies with the feel good chemicals: serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
If we want to make a change in our life, then we need to see some advantage to that, otherwise the brain will try to put up all sorts of barriers. Because imagining the outcome we want moves us into the amazing, resourceful part of the brain, it will instead work for us to find the solutions to those problems in life.
Consider it an inner rehearsal. Even when we aren’t thinking of it, the brain is there in the background acting on the instruction we’ve given it. We’ve told it we want something and it’s going to put all its energy into getting that for us. We need to tell the brain that there’s simply no alternative to success.
Visualisation technique for stress
There are lots of visualisation techniques but I think this one is really good, you can do it almost anywhere and it only takes about 10 minutes. All you have to do it find somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, where you can close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out and begin that process of relaxation.
Then imagine yourself in a beautiful location, where everything is just as you want it. It’s up to you where that might be: on a beach, in a forest, up a mountain…
Then imagine all the sounds around you. Make it as vivid as possible. If you’re on a beach, spend some time vividly imagining the warmth of the sun on your skin, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves. The more detail you add, the better the brain responds.
Then imagine lying down, or whatever feels comfortable for you, and create a picture in your mind of how you want things to be in your life, having achieved that goal you’ve set yourself. Make it full of colour. Who will be in this picture? What will they be noticing about you? How will you be feeling when you see yourself succeeding?
Remain there for however long you want to, creating as much detail as possible. Focusing on how good that makes you feel will allow you to take that feeling with you throughout the rest of the day. When you’re done, open your eyes and carry on with the day.
The practice of visualisation
Remember, practice makes perfect, so add this to your daily routine. The more clearly we can describe our hoped for future, the more quickly a positive outcome will follow.
In the next video, we’re going to be looking at steeping away from stress – how to use distraction to your advantage, so don’t miss it.