Stress Management: Mental Imaging

What is mental imaging?

Mental imaging is a way to quiet your body and calm your mind. It can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and the pressures of everyday life.

Mental imaging involves picturing yourself in a calm place and letting your muscles relax. It uses mental exercises that create feelings of heaviness, warmth, and relaxation in your muscles.

This relaxation method is also called guided imagery.

How do I do this exercise?

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down in a quiet room. Close your eyes.
  2. Breathe in slowly and deeply and picture waves on a beach. As you breathe in, imagine the waves coming toward shore. As you breathe out, picture them moving away from the shore.
  3. Imagine the sun shining on you. Focus on your different muscle groups one at a time. Visualize the sun warming the area and feel your muscles relax. While you visualize and feel the muscles relax, say to yourself, for example: “My forehead and scalp feel heavy, warm, loose, and relaxed.” Do the exercise for each of the following muscle groups:
    • Forehead and scalp
    • Eyes
    • Face and jaws
    • Neck
    • Right arm
    • Left arm
    • Back
    • Chest
    • Stomach
    • Buttocks and thighs
    • Right leg
    • Left leg

Do these exercises twice a day. Each session should last 5 to 10 minutes.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-01-27
Last reviewed: 2014-01-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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