Here we are in week four of the “How Do You Spell RELIEF?” series. I hope you’ve had some good laughter in the last seven days. Now we’re ready to deal with “I” for imagination. Before you start feeling stressed at this concept, thinking things like “Oh, no! I’m not creative!” …stop. You already use your imagination many times every day. Think about what you had for breakfast today, or what you wore yesterday. Immediately a picture comes up in your mind. That’s using your imagination.
You can take advantage of the stress management benefits of imagining two ways. The first is to formalize the imagination process by learning and practicing specific techniques called visualization and affirmation.
Visualization is really nothing more than what you did when I asked you to remember what you ate for breakfast. It is a controlled, self-directed ability to create a picture or memory in your mind. There are many versions of these visualization techniques that allow you to take a mini vacation away from stress.
Affirmations are powerful, positive statements that you make yourself that allow you to focus on helpful, beneficial attitudes.
“I am relaxed and at peace.”
“I am calm and in control.”
These are just two examples of affirmations you can either repeat yourself or write down and post the quotes somewhere you repeatedly see them throughout the day… The refrigerator, your rearview mirror, above your desk.
Here is the recipe for creating your own affirmations:
- Use positive words.
- Create them in the present tense.
- Keep them simple.
- Use strong, powerful words.
Saying: “I will not be fat anymore.”, breaks the affirmation rules. Try,”I have a healthy beautiful body.” Make your affirmations work for you. It’s okay not to believe these statements in the beginning.It may take some time and many repetitions, but eventually you’ll begin to accept this positive declaration.
The second way you can use your imagination to help handle stress is to link pleasant, fun and/or relaxing events with something you can recall at any time. Think of simple but very effective ways to connect present relaxing thoughts to the present moment. Here are some examples that create a sense of relaxation during hectic times:
- Carry a pebble in your pocket that your child gave you on a walk at the park this weekend.
- Keep a shell from your last beach vacation on your desk.
- Look at a photo or a postcard, of a favorite nature scene or somewhere you would love to visit.
Here is a reminder that on April 22, at 10am, Liz Barta, our RN educator at Catalina In Home Services, Inc., is presenting an online in-depth version of “How Do You Spell R.E.L.I.E.F?”. This talk is sponsored by Tucson Medical Center For Seniors program.Here is the link to register for this free presentation: https://www.tmcaz.com/about-tmc/contact-us/.