Visualising as a de-stressing strategy

I hope you are lapping up the beautiful weather today. As I write I can feel the warm sun on my arms, filling me with a sense of optimism and joy. As we’re emerging (kind of!) out of lockdown in the UK I know for myself and many of my clients new hopes are arising, but also new challenges and obstacles are arising too.

I am facing a bit of a work challenge this week. Without going into all the ins and outs of it, let’s just say it’s one of those things that can send the brain down an absolute rabbit hole of catastrophising. My gremlins are having me believe that everything will fall apart because of this one small problem, even though I can rationalise that that won’t be the case. That said I did find myself waking up at 3am this morning with thoughts and questions and scenarios running through my brain.

At first I did the worst thing and got up to check something on my computer to see if I’d missed something (I hadn’t!) but the getting up and switching on of electronics did not aid in the getting back to sleep again afterwards. And so after a good hour of thinking through potential conversations and questions I reminded myself of all the self-care strategies I teach others, and started to apply some to myself.

I did some triangular breathing, and a lot of self-compassion breaks, but the thing that ultimately worked to get me back to sleep was visualising a safe and light and fun future. I imagined myself in the future feeling energised and surrounded by lovely people, I imagined feeling relaxed and self-assured. Most importantly I imagined myself in a situation where I wasn’t at risk, there weren’t threats I had to manage, I was safe and supported. Imagining myself feeling safe and supported switched on my rest and repair nervous system and actually allowed me to feel safe and supported that very moment, whereas just minutes before I was feeling at risk and scared.

The power of visualising is enormous. We can shift the way we are feeling by imagining ourselves in a safe space, it can seem to our nervous system that we are indeed actually there, and our feelings respond accordingly. Once those feelings have shifted we’re actually in a better, more resourceful and resilient space to tackle the problem at hand.

So I’d encourage you to put visualising in your tool box and use it whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.

With love as always, Hannah and Team Bird

PS. We still have spaces on our Writing for Wellbeing webinar in August. We would love to see you there, for more information and to book please click here.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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