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Using the power of  your mind to evoke a positive response, guided imagery can reduce stress and slow heart rate, stimulate the immune system, and reduce pain. As part of the rapidly emerging field of mind and body medicine, guided imagery is being used in various therapeutic settings, and, when properly implemented, can also serve as a highly effective form of self-care.

In this exercise, you will be creating in your mind a totally relaxing setting for yourself, one that involves lying on the warm sand, hearing the sounds of the ocean, letting the warm water wash over you.  This is the method I have found works best for me. If you do not want to use the beach and ocean setting, you can change this to a setting that works best for you.

a.    Lie down on your back, on a mat or a blanket placed on the floor, or sit comfortably in a chair.  Relax your body and let your breaths come naturally.  Place your hands on your sides. 

b.    Imagine you are lying on a beach, you can feel the warm sand under you while the sun warms you from head to toe.  You can hear the waves from the ocean as they gently wash up against the shore.  You can smell the salt water and feel a few drops of the ocean from the spray of the waves.  Do whatever you need to do to create this image in your mind's eye.

c.    Now imagine that the warm ocean water runs up on the shore and over your feet.  These waves totally penetrate your skin, bones and muscles of your toes, heels, bottoms and sides of your feet... then this warm water runs back into the ocean, carrying with it any tension, pain or distress that you were feeling in that part of your body.

d.    Now this warm ocean water runs up a little higher, covering both your feet and ankles.  Again, these warm ocean waves totally penetrate your feet and ankles.  As these waves run back into the ocean, they carry with it any tiredness, tension or stress that were present in your feet and ankles.

e.    Imagine the waves run up even higher, as far as your knees.  Again, these waves totally penetrate your skin, bones, muscles from your knees to the bottoms of your feet... and as the warm ocean water runs back into the sea, the water takes with it any negative feelings, any tiredness or pain you might be experiencing there.

f.    Now this warm ocean water runs up even higher, as far as your waist.  Totally penetrating the lower half of your body... and as the water runs back into the sea it carries with it any feelings of anxiety, tension or pain that you might be feeling there.

g.    Now the waves run up midway to your chest, totally penetrating you from the middle of your chest down to the bottoms of your feet... and as the water flows back into the sea, it takes with it any pain or distress that you might be feeling.

h.    Now this warm ocean water runs up to your shoulders, totally covering your arms and body from the neck down.  This healing liquid totally penetrates your body... and as it runs back into the sea it carries with it all feelings of anxiety, stress or discomfort you might have been experiencing.

i.    Now imagine the warm ocean water covers your entire body.  You have no difficulty breathing because this healing liquid quickly penetrates your face and scalp, as well as the rest of your body... and as the water runs back into the sea, it takes with it any tension, pain or discomfort you might still be feeling in any part of your body.

j.    Imagine the waves running up your body and covering it completely several times.  Imagine the warm ocean water penetrating your entire body... and then falling back into the sea, taking with it all of the fatigue, stress and tension in your entire body.

k.    If there is any part of your body that still feels tense or stressed, direct the warm ocean water there.  The warm water penetrates that part of your body and then falls back into the sea, taking with it any stress or tension left in that part of your body.

l.    Now take a few minutes to enjoy the feeling of comfort and vitality coursing through your body.  Let your breath come naturally and let yourself completely experience the way your body is feeling

m.    Come back slowly by taking a deep breath into your lungsSlowly move your arms and hands.  Take several minutes to slowly bring yourself back before opening your eyes.


Robertson, Dr. John. "Guided Imagery." Relaxation Techniques. , . 11 November 2003.

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