Guided visualization is a great way to overcome stress and move forward with a positive mindset.
And it’s been used in a handful of professional fields. For instance, a basketball player might use visualization to imagine making a shot. He imagine what it feels like in his body to stand far from the basket, lift his arms, and throw the ball from his hands. In his imagination, he might watch the ball make its way to the basket, hit the baseboard, and make it into the hoop. Hypnotherapists use visualization to help their clients relax, and performers use visualization to imagine an enthusiastic audience.
There are two primary ways that visualization can be used, both of which can support recovery from addiction. The first is learning to relax and the second is using the imagination to paint out a clear picture of your future.
Overcoming Stress with Guided Visualization
This is sometimes called guided imagery. You might purchase CD’s or a DVD that will guide you to imaginary peaceful states. Doing this on a regular basis can create an ongoing sense of relaxation and peace that will allow you to feel more relaxed throughout your day. Listening to a guided imagery CD or DVD slowly guides you to imagine a soft, sandy beach or a peaceful waterfall. A calm voice guides you to have various relaxing experiences, such as walking along the beach as you hear the waves roll in and out. As you continue to use guided imagery, these kind of experiences can create a state of relaxation in the body and mind that feels familiar – more familiar than states of stress and anxiety. A relaxed body/mind is a healthy body/mind.
Imagine Your New Life
Before you begin to use visualization, you might ask yourself what your life would be like if you were not struggling triggers and cravings. Ask yourself what kind of life you would like to have. And not just in general terms, like you’d like to live in a nice house and have a loving partner and a good paying job. Write out your answers to these questions in detail! What is the color of your future home? What is the color of your new boyfriend’s hair? What does your day to day life look like with your well paying job? Map it out in detail! Then, engage your imagination. See yourself in this new life. What does it feel like? Who are you in this new life? What types of experiences are you having? Imagine what circumstances and situations you would find yourself in.
Using the imagination in these ways can have a profound effect on the nervous system. It can also help a recovering addict get to know the life they are working towards. Using visualization on a daily basis can strengthen one’s ability to relax as well as one’s commitment to recovery.