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?
Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down in a quiet room. Close your eyes.
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.
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
Face and jaws
Buttocks and thighs
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.
Stress Management: Mental Imaging: References
Effects of guided imagery with relaxation training on anxiety and quality of life among patients with inflammatory bowel disease.Mizrahi MC, Reicher-Atir R, Levy S, Haramati S, Wengrower D, Israeli E, Goldin E. Psychol Health. 2012;27(12):1463-79. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2012.691169. Epub 2012 May 30. Accessed 1/26/2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22646975
Guided imagery as a treatment option for fatigue: a literature review. Menzies V, Jallo N. J Holist Nurs. 2011 Dec;29(4):279-86. doi: 10.1177/0898010111412187. Epub 2011 Jul 19.Accessed 1/26/2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21772047
Effects of music therapy and guided visual imagery on chemotherapy-induced anxiety and nausea-vomiting. Karagozoglu S, Tekyasar F, Yilmaz FA. J Clin Nurs. 2013 Jan;22(1-2):39-50. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12030. Epub 2012 Nov 8. Accessed 1/26/2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23134272
Stress Management for Life: A Research-Based Experiential Approach. Michael Olpin, Margie Hesson. Wadsworth Publishing; 3rd ed., 2012.
Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. Chapter 21. Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D., Jones & Bartlett Learning; 7th ed., 2011.
American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: by American Psychiatric Association, 2006.
Kaplan and Sadockâ€™s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry by Sadock (Ed) and Sadock (Ed) 2008.