How to Relieve Stress With Visualization Breathing
How many senses should you try to utilize as you visualize?
Ever heard the saying, “In with the good air and out with the bad”? Well, our lungs weren’t just made for taking in air; they help to alleviate tension that has built up physically and emotionally. The technique of visualization breathing has been found to relieve stress, anxiety, and even panic attacks in just a few minutes.Visualization breathing combines two activities—breathing exercises and visualization, which is often used to maximize a person’s ability to relax. The first step is to close your eyes and then slow down your breathing by taking deeper breaths. Take a seat, fold your hands and place them in your lap. Or, you can place the palms of your hands on your knees if that’s more comfortable for you.Your breathing should come from your diaphragm. We usually tend to breathe in a very shallow way through the shoulders or chest. But, to relax, the breathing needs to be deeper. Over time, you’ll feel this become more natural. This is also a good exercise to help you if you have trouble sleeping.Once you have the deep breathing down, it’s time to close your eyes and visualize a place that feels safe and comfortable for you. For some, it might be the beach or the mountains while someone else might visualize a companion like a friend or dog or even just a cozy room with a fireplace. Begin to focus on how you feel there. Really feel the detail like the breeze, the sun’s rays, and the sound of the waves. Try to utilize all five senses as you visualize.Along with the visualization process comes some physical exercises to help alleviate more of the tension. Visualization comes into play here as well because you need to imagine your body getting looser so that the tension releases from toes, ankles, calves and so on. If visualizing warmth over looseness works better, try that.Continue this process as many times as it takes for you to start feeling completely relaxed. You can repeat for as long as you need or as often as you need throughout the day or evening to keep the stress and anxiety at bay. Just remember, though, visualization breathing has been known to induce sleep, so if you’re anything like me, you just might want to set an alarm. I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.