I want to share a recent experience with you that was very much a marker for me in my personal practice of visualization meditation, and through this story share a tool to help you in times of stress & anxiety.
I absolutely love doing visualization meditation. It's one of the more powerful tools that I've worked with both personally & with my clients. Like anything else, it takes some practice. I often use a guided meditation app like the Insight Timer, and I also just close my eyes, and take myself on an inner journey in my minds eye often. Because this has been such a beneficial tool for me, I've shared this through facilitating guided visualization meditation workshops several times a month for the past two years that attendees continue to come back to because their experiences are so powerful.
Visualization is an amazing tool to use for personal growth, manifesting what you want in life, as well as relieving anxiety & stress. In the workshops I host, we focus on personal growth topics along with relaxation. What I want to share with you today is a story about how, with some practice, you can use visualization to get you calmly through times where anxiety wants to take over.
When I was in my early 20's I had a terrible dental experience. Without going into details, there was a lot of pain involved, a serious lack of compassion by the dentist inflicting the pain, and I left feeling pretty traumatized about dental work and didn't go back to a dentist for years because of it. There's very few things in life that immediately bring up anxiety for me and can send my body straight into fight or flight mode, but since that experience, whenever I sit down in a dental chair to have a cavity filled, my heart immediately starts to race, and anxiety wells up in a very real way for me.
I recently needed to have some dental work done, and feeling anxious about it, I had a talk with myself before hand and had a plan to utilize the visualization tools that I've been practicing for years now. From the point of the needle coming out to numb my mouth, I began my visualization. I went through my favorite full body relaxation visualization, I took myself to a sacred space in my minds eye that I often visit, and took myself to the beach where I was laying at the edge of the surf feeling the waves gently roll onto me.....all in my minds eye. Every time I got distracted with the work going on in my mouth, I brought my attention back to the visualization. All of the practice I've done with this work served me in a deeper way than it ever had before. I was actually able to really remove myself from the dental chair and be in those waves, my body fully relaxed. I could hear & feel the dental work happening in my mouth, I was aware of it, but I was somehow removed from it at the same time. My more vivid reality at the time was being at the beach, and what was happening in my mouth I just wasn't that present to. It's a bit hard to explain, but I felt like for the first time I was truly able to transcend a very anxious moment for me, and sooth myself until it was over. When the dentist said she was done, my body was so relaxed that I needed to really snap myself out of it to get up out of the chair! I was amazed at the level of deepness I could go in my mediation with such distraction going on.
I wanted to share this story for 2 reasons. First off to share with you just how powerful the tool of visualization & meditation can be for anxious times, as well as to remind you that it's called a 'practice' because it takes some practice! It's common to get frustrated with what can feel like slow progress when working with something like meditation. You work & work & work on it, and can still feel like you are not 'there'. You ARE getting there, I promise! If you are practicing, you are developing a habit that you will only get better at. Visualization meditation is a perfect example of that.
Me having this breakthrough moment where I really felt how much my practice had sunk into my bones was motivating for me to continue. It's important to take note & celebrate when you feel shifts within yourself after you've been working on something.
Have you explored visualization? Have you tried using guided meditations for stress relief, relaxing, personal work, or envisioning what you want? I'd love to encourage you to try it. Try the app I linked above, close your eyes sometimes, and take yourself somewhere pleasant. If you are local to the Olympia, WA area, join us for one of my Guided Visualization Meditation workshops. Life isn't always easy. It can feel stressful and we can feel anxious. Finding tools to support yourself through these times is a huge act of self love and can support you in big ways.
Wishing you a peaceful week!