How to do it:
Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Choose a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed or interrupted. Loosen any tight clothing. Do a scan of your body and let go of any areas that you’re holding onto. Breathe easily and naturally as you let your body relax and let go. Do this for about a minute until you feel more relaxed. (Note: when doing this exercise during the day, don’t let yourself fall asleep, as it can interfere with your ability to sleep at night. If you’re using it after you get into bed at night, then sleep away.)
Begin focusing on your image. Your image can be any place that you find relaxing, calm or peaceful. It can be a real place like a favorite vacation spot, a place in nature you love, or a place where you feel safe. It can also be a place you invent, like floating on a cloud, being at a five-star spa, or lying on a tropical beach. The possibilities are limitless. Just use your imagination.
Picture the place in vivid detail, focusing particularly on your senses and how you feel physically and emotionally. What are you wearing? What are you sitting or lying on? How does it feel against your body? What is around you? What do you see, smell, taste, feel, and hear? The more detail you include, the more your mind will think it’s real, and the more powerful, pleasurable and relaxing it will be.
You can guide yourself in your own mind or you can write it out and then record it with your voice (or ask a friend with a soothing voice) and listen to as you do it. Then you can listen to it anywhere you go with a pair of headphones.
Do this imagery exercise for about 20-30 minutes daily.
Here is a sample script you can use as a guide.
Once you are relaxed and seated with your eyes closed, breathing easily and naturally, let your thoughts of your daily life gently drift away, as you begin to picture in your mind that you are walking down a narrow, winding pathway of white sand. There are green, tropical plants on both sides of the path covered with flowers in bright colors—reds, oranges, and yellows. You can smell their sweetness in the air. You can feel the warm, soft sand under your bare feet as you walk. You are wearing a comfortable bathing suit. The temperature is warm, exactly as you like it. You continue walking down the path and can hear the ocean waves crashing nearby as you approach the beach.
A moment later, the path ends and you arrive at a beautiful, secluded beach. You see it stretches out for miles in both directions. Then you gaze out over the sand towards the water and see and hear the waves crashing onto the sand, creating white foam. You see the turquoise sea extending endlessly into the horizon. A few small sailboats move in the distance. The sun is shining brightly above in a cloudless blue sky and, as you look up, you can feel its warmth on your face. The warmth relaxes and soothes you and you feel even more at peace.
You begin to walk across the sand, towards the water, feeling your bare feet sinking into the deep, white sand. It is warm and soothing on your feet. You reach the water and smell the salty ocean air and feel the mist from a crashing wave, as the water rolls up the sand and gently covers your feet. The water feels warm and inviting and tickles your feet and ankles.
You gaze out at the water and see the sun reflecting off of it making the water shimmer like silver. You see a flying fish jump out of the water, flapping its fins, then dives back into the water. You take a deep breath in and let it out, becoming even calmer and more still. You are very present in this moment, able to be there and appreciate the profound natural beauty and tranquility. You feel happy and light, free of any concerns. Everything feels right and good.
After a moment, you turn and start slowly strolling down the beach. You remain near the water, and every minute or so, a gentle, warm sheet of water washes over your feet and ankles. Your feet sink into the wet, pliable sand, creating footprints. As you walk, you can see far down the beach. It is deserted and serene. Your muscles and limbs feel relaxed and loose as you walk, any last tension in your body melts away, and you start to feel renewed and rejuvenated. You can’t help but smile.
You walk for a while longer then see a chaise lounge up on the sand nearby. You walk up a gentle slope to the dry, soft sand. The chaise is empty and inviting. It has a soft, tan cushion and a thick white towel laid out on it. You walk over and lie down on it feeling your body sink into the cushion. It feels cool and comfortable against your body and you close your eyes and let your body completely go, feeling the chaise support you, as if you were drifting weightlessly on a cloud. You are now completely relaxed and at peace. Everything inside you is still. Your breathing has slowed and is now easy and effortless.
You can continue to lie on the beach as long as you like and, when you’re ready, you can gently open your eyes and slowly bring your attention back to the room you are in, while holding onto that total relaxation and calmness.