Written by Megan Cade
Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. -Harold B. Melchart
Welcome to the Lotus Counseling and Wellness Center Blog. Lotus Counseling and Wellness Center will be posting multiple blogs each month. There will be monthly theme to accompany the posts. The posts will center on emotional and physical wellness. The theme for July is renewal.
Summer is a time of renewal. Schools let out, the sun sets later, and the world starts to slow down. It is a time of relaxation and celebration. Summer can be a time of introspection and self-reflection. Many of us head to beaches and pools. Whether it is lying on a raft, playing in the surf, or just being close to friends and family summer is a time to recover from the past and prepare for the future. Visualization is a tool that helps you slow down and relax your mind. Visualization exercises can also give you the motivation and acceptance to imagine living your best life; and start asking the questions that lie in your soul. What are your goals? What does your heat desire? How can you get to your happy place?
Visualization is used in many therapeutic frameworks. Visualization can help bring about a decrease in anxiety and depression. Visualization can also help you pin- point the changes you want to make in your life and get yourself to the completion of your goals. Routine practice of visualization results in a positive change in your feelings, mood, and behavior (Wood, 1993). Visualization is a valuable tool to use when achieving optimal mental and physical wellness. Multiple studies have shown a decrease in anxiety when participants practiced visualization. (Pallavcini, Algeri, Repetto, Gorini, & Riva, 2009) Visualization brings about relaxation. Relaxation exercise bring about a decrease in anxiety by decreasing physical arousal. (Pallavincin et al, 2009)
Relaxation and visualization exercises can be practiced in a variety of ways. Some turn to therapy or regular yoga practice to relax. The beauty of this practice is that it can be achieved anytime and anyplace. Try to start to slowly incorporate visualization into your day at least once a week. Even just a few minutes, two-three times a week can help you achieve relaxation and/or edge you closer to your goals.
Yoga is a great way to practice visualization. Many types of yoga begin class with an intention and end class with Corpse Pose or Final Relaxation Pose to bring about total restoration. Teachers will lead the class in five or ten minutes of calm. Slowly, the teacher will lead you out of the pose by slowly bringing awareness back to the body.
Others turn to therapy for the practice of visualization. The therapist will assist in treatment planning, including the formation of short and long -term goals. Therapy is also a way to learn how progressive muscle relaxation, hypnosis, and mediation.
Lotus Counseling and Wellness Center offers both individual, couple, and family therapy as well as many different types of yoga classes. With a little bit of concentration and practice, visualization can be the beginning of journey to relaxation and progress in all areas of life. Start today with five just five spare minutes. Headspace and Calm are apps designed to lead you in guided meditations. The Calm App uses visual images of nature and soothing sounds to transport you to a place of calm. However, no technology is needed for visualization, it can be as easy as finding a quiet spot, taking a deep breath, and imagining a life of calm.
What do you want to accomplish in the next year? How will you grow as a person this year? Where is your happy place? These are just questions that can be answered with insight after the practice of visualization. In two weeks, we will talk about visualization as it pertains to physical wellness. The formation of a wellness vision is the cornerstone of health and wellness coaching. The next post will take you through the components of a wellness vision and explore the wellness tools available at Lotus Counseling and Wellness Center.
Pallavincini, F., Algeri, D., Repetto, C., Gorini, A., and Riva, G. 2009. Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation. Milan, Italy.
Wood, C. 1993. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Oxford, England.