Saturday, November 28, 2009

Relaxation Technique 4: Envisioning a Peaceful Scene

Some of you may remember Adam Sandler going to his "happy place' in the movie Happy Gilmore. Here's the script:
Chubbs: You must clear your mind
of everything else and stay focused.
Happy Gilmore: How can I do that?
Chubbs: Think of a place
that's really perfect.
Your own happy place.
Go there and all your anger
will disappear.
Although portrayed with humor, the idea is still a concrete one and works with more than just anger. It can help you with your anxious thoughts as well. 

A peaceful scene could be envisioning yourself on a quiet beach, a stream in the mountains, laying in a meadow of wild flowers, sitting next to a cozy fire wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter day, or wherever you consider to be a peaceful place. As long as you can see everything in detail and completely absorb yourself in the setting, any place real or fantasy will do.

Edmund J. Bourne says, "Allowing yourself to be absorbed in a peaceful scene will deepen your state of relaxation, giving you actual physiological results. Your muscular tension lessens, your heart rate slows down, your breathing deepens, your capillaries open up and warm your hands and feet, and so on."

It helps to write out your peaceful scene on paper. Using all of your senses- sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste, describe the scene in full detail.

You can also record your voice describing what you have written so that you can conjour it up without effort.

Here is an example of a peaceful scene described by Edmund J. Bourne from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook:

The Beach Scene
"You're walking along a beautiful, deserted beach. You are barefoot and can feel the firm white sand beneath your feet as you walk along the margin of the sea. You can hear the sound of the surf as the waves ebb and flow. The sound is hypnotic, relaxing you more and more. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue flecked with whitecaps far out where the waves are cresting. Near the horizon you can see a small sailboat gliding smoothly along. The sound of the waves breaking on the shore lulls you deeper and deeper into relaxation.You draw in the fresh, salty smell of the air with each breath. Your skin glows with the warmth of the sun.You can feel a gentle breeze against your cheek and ruffling in your hair. Taking in the whole scene you feel very calm and at ease."
Sigh. That seems so nice. 

Once you have your own ideal peaceful scene imagined out, return to it whenever you finish any relaxation technique such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation for example. Over time this will enforce the image and it will solidify in your mind, making it easier to call upon on the spur of the moment and help to drive away anxious thoughts.



The Blue Morpho said...

A strong visualization can be a very powerful technique. I worked with my therapist to create a highly detailed image of myself on a beach (with frosty beverage in hand). I 'practiced' this image for weeks (now years) and it is so solid now that I can call it up even in the middle of a panic attack. It is a little frayed around the edges in those situations, but still helps ramp down my heart rate and breathing.

Aimée said...

Hey Blue Morpho,

Thanks for the comment. I am glad that a peaceful scene works for you. I am still trying to figure mine out. Can I get your email address so that I can email you your code to the MiHeart app that you won from the giveaway? The code I have expires if not redeemed and its less than 30 days now so the sooner I can get it to you the better. You can email me your email address at Thanks for all of your support!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...