Visualization techniques work with the neural connections that exist between the motor and emotional areas of our brain. What these techniques are all about is connecting certain images and thoughts with positive moods.
The visualization basically consists of evoking with the imagination a pleasant situation or scene and using the positive emotions that are produced to change patterns of thought, or simply to enjoy the state of well-being that appears.
What are visualization techniques for?
Regularly practicing visualization techniques will help us to delve deeper and deeper into the sensations and symbols that accompany each image. With time, when we are trained, we will be able to memorize these visualizations and the states of relaxation that accompany them, to make use of them when necessary.
From the visualization of images, we can induce healthy states of mind that allow us both relax and have pleasant sensations, because, as Carl Jung said, through the images we can connect the most unconscious part of our mind with the most conscious part.
Visualization techniques are used for the treatment of anxiety, phobias, low self-esteem, depression, physical pain and tension, etc..
We have made a small compilation of visualization exercises, which you can use if you are a therapist to use it in your sessions, or you can also use them on your own to help you relax.
These are simple techniques that are used to help us concentrate while minimizing our thoughts, emotions and physical pain to the maximum.
Liberation of thoughts
Close your eyes… Imagine that you are sitting on the bank of a river watching as the trunk of a tree descends slowly carried by the current. For 6 to 10 seconds, imagine that a thought of yours, a perception or a sensation, travels over the trunk and then lets them both disappear from your sight. Go back to contemplating the river and wait for a new trunk to appear that will carry a new thought over it.
You can also do this exercise by imagining that your thoughts are puffs of smoke produced from a fire.
Interaction between tension and relaxation
Close your eyes… Look at the tension in your body… choose a symbol to represent the tension or pain you are experiencing at this moment, it can be ice… choose another symbol to represent the concept of relaxation…
Let the two symbols interact so that, in the end, the tension is eliminated.
Take your tension away
Close your eyes… Imagine a color and a shape for your tension or pain… now change the color and shape… remove these last two elements until they disappear from your mind.
Close your eyes… Imagine that your body is full of lights. For example, a red light represents tension or pain and blue lights represent relaxation… imagine the lights changing from red to blue or from blue to red and observe any physical sensation you experience in the meantime… now imagine that all the lights in your body have acquired a blue colour and experience with it the sensation of total relaxation.
Concentrate on the part of the body where you feel the most muscular tension… give the tension a mental image, for example, a weight that oppresses your stomach, a string tightly knotted around your arms, a padlock that closes your mouth, a lathe that tightens your shoulders (depending on where you feel the tension)… Try to see the relaxation of this image.
Imagine that you are lightly covered by a layer of warm sand… your right leg… the left leg… the stomach… the chest… and the arms. Or imagine that a warm blanket, slowly… slowly, is covering your shoulders.
This technique represents another very effective way of using the imagination to achieve relaxation.
The Path in the Mountain
Close your eyes… Imagine that you are moving away from the place where you live… leave behind the noises and the daily rush… Imagine that you are crossing a valley and that you are approaching a mountain range… visualize yourself in it… you are going up a tortuous road… find in it a place to stop… find now a path by which you can climb… look for a comfortable place to stop.
When you have found it and bequeathed it to that point, take some time to examine all the tension in your life. Mentally give tension and stress shapes and colors… Look at them carefully and then leave them on the edge of the path you are on.
Keep going up the path until you reach the top of a hill… look from up there… What do you see… Find an attractive and comfortable place and head for it.
Look at the surroundings… what does it remind you of?… Look at the sights, the smells, the sounds… Notice how you feel… Settle down and, little by little, start to relax… Now you feel totally relaxed… experience the feeling of being totally and completely relaxed… Rest for three to five minutes… Look around you again….
Remember that this is your special place to relax and you can come whenever you want.
Go back to your room and remember that all these images are fruit of your imagination, you have created them and you can resort to them whenever you want to relax.
Active remembrance technique
Close your eyes… Move to the beginning of the day… how was your awakening?… how did you feel?… Think about your thoughts and sensations… Get rid of these thoughts and sensations… Get rid of that part of the day… it belongs to the past and you can no longer do anything to change it.
Now we are in the hour to eat… Think about how were your thoughts and sensations… how were for you the hours between 11:00 and 2:00?… Get rid of the thoughts and sensations of that part of the day… both belong to the past now… you can’t change them anymore.
Now think about the time between 2:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon… how was that part of the day for you? Remember what your thoughts and feelings were… get rid of them… Remember that both belong to the past… you can no longer change them.
Think now of the afternoon, of the hours between 5:00 and 7:00 in the afternoon… how was that part of the day for you… Think of what you felt and thought during those hours… Get rid of the thoughts and sensations you experienced during this time… they belong to the past and you can no longer do anything to change them.
It’s already 8:00 in the afternoon… Quickly go back to the beginning of the day and make sure you feel liberated from everything you thought and felt during this day… Feel totally in the present… start to feel how you start to feel relaxed… Feel relaxed… feel totally relaxed… feel totally relaxed.
Facing the unknown
Close your eyes… Imagine you are in the forest… it is dark and the wind is blowing… you are lost… what do you feel at this moment?… Observe your body and the areas in which you feel tension… experience it for a minute…
Imagine that you find a place to get out of this dark and cold forest… feel how the tension is disappearing from your body… it will disappear as you find a way… Feel how the tension is being removed from your body… you are relaxed… you are safe… you feel comfortable.
Create your own images
The technique of guided imagery includes finding a comfortable position, closing your eyes, concentrating on your own physical sensations, and practicing deep breathing.
One way to create your own images is to attend to any fantasy that comes to mind. For example, you may wonder how long the headache you’re feeling right now is going to last.
Close your eyes and let your imagination answer the question. Imagine different places: the beach, city streets, a stream, etc. Of all the scenes you have imagined, choose one where you can relax and which only you will enjoy.
What smell do you perceive, how is the structure you see, how does your body feel? Imagine that you are doing something that relaxes you, for example that you are fishing, that you are enjoying a good meal, chatting with friends, or that you are sitting by the fire, with a good book in your hands.
By the time you’ve settled into the scene you’ve imagined and relaxed in it, your headache will be gone. In the space below, describe some images that appeal to you. Knock them over and engrave them in your memory. Whenever you feel the need for deep relaxation, close your eyes and move to that special place.