The Coping Kete

Tag Archives: Visualisation

No. 90: Picturing my Supporters at my Back

This week to attain, regain or maintain my sense of wellbeing…

…when I am stressed, pressed or distressed, I will self-soothe by imagining my various support people standing encouragingly at my back, boosting me up. This might include my parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, therapist, key-worker or someone else, just all the people in my life who want me to do well and want me to feel better when I don’t.

I will make a list of some of these people before I try to practice imagining them standing supportively at my back, so I’m not having to remember from scratch in the middle of a moment of distress. Some of the people might be in my daily life, but some might be more distant or less available, but they are still people in the world who want good things for me. It doesn’t matter if I see them everyday or once every two years – they care for me and if they were here they would give me comfort.

I will picture them sending me good vibes, saying comforting things and believing in me. No matter what is happening now, these people want good things for me. With them at my back, I know I don’t need to cope with whatever life throws at me by myself. I will breathe and imagine my people are there quietly supporting me.

If I find it particularly hard to think of people who fit the bill as supporters or I think I don’t have ‘enough’ of them, it might be that I need to spend some time finding some supporters for myself. But we don’t need a huge number of supporters to get through, we really just need one or two people we can rely on when things get rough.

Once I’ve worked out how to get this strategy working for me, I will write it on a card and add it to my Personal Coping Kete, for future use.

No 87: Being My Own Loving Parent

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…I will practicing being my own unconditionally loving parent. When I find myself falling into self-critic mode, I will say comforting things to myself. I will encourage myself on. I will have compassion for what I am going through. I will praise my strengths and remember my victories. I will attend to my self-care needs and make sure I am alright. I might imagine my ideal kind of loving parent in advance so that I am prepared with the kinds of things I might say to myself if I get distressed.

This week, I take care of myself the way I want to be taken care of by others.

Once I am comfortable saying caring and encouraging things to myself in everyday moments, I will add this strategy to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of soothing distress. When I encounter stress or distress I will think about how I would want my ideal loving parent to respond to me and I will respond to myself that way.

No. 75: Putting Myself in the Moment

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…when I find myself wanting or wishing things to be different, I will practice tapping into Buddhist philosophy and regularly remind myself that “whatever I say to the universe, the universe will respond with only one answer – yes.” I cannot ever have what I want, because ‘wanting’ is a statement of lack to begin with. As long as I put myself in that moment of wanting, the universe will provide me with the conditions of wanting. My thoughts, words and actions are the tools with which I create my reality and I can never experience something I am unwilling to express (meaning ‘push out’).

This week I will practice using my self-talk and my imagination to ‘push out’ the object of my desires into reality, rather than ‘pushing out’ my wanting.

Step One: When I find myself wanting or wishing things were different, I will change my thought commands and statements to put myself in that state now. Instead of saying to myself “I want…” or “I wish…” I will say to myself “I have…” or “I am…” or “I will be…”. So for example, instead of “I wish I was in love” I will say to myself “I am going to be in love.”

Step Two: I will then imagine what it will feel like to have that which I want. I will let myself feel those feelings, not the feeling of wanting it, but the feeling of actually having it. I will put myself in those feelings in advance. The mind knows no difference between imagination and reality. I am already having the experience that I want to have, I know what it feels like and sounds like and looks like within me. I will stay with those feelings no matter what, I won’t let external conditions tell me otherwise.

Life is happening through me. Life is not happening to me.

I will start out with the little moment-to-moment wishes for different interactions and things like that. Once I am comfortable putting myself in the moment I am seeking with everyday things, I will add this to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for dealing with distress. When I notice myself feeling distressed, I will tune into what it is I want and use my imagination and self-talk to put myself in that moment now.

No. 74: Chanting Meditation

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

… I will practice chanting as a way of meditating, doing breathing exercises and relaxing myself.

First off I will pick a word to use. The little boy in this video link  uses the word “yum”.  Yoga meditations often use the word ‘om’. I will experiment with the kinds of words I use for my chant – different words might have different feelings for me. “Om” is likely so popular because it doesn’t have any meaning and is just a sound. I might use other sounds too.

I will take a deep breath into my belly. As I let the breath out, I will repeat my word in a chant, giving the final repetition a greater emphasis on the last syllable, for example: “yum, yum, yum, yummy” / “Om, om, om, ommmm” / “Love, love, love, lovvvve”.  I will be aware of the sensations of the words moving over my lips and the other sensations in my body. I will let the words come nice and slow, so that my out breath is also nice and slow. My mind will be focused on my breath, the words and the sensations of saying them, rather than on the things I worry about.

I will repeat the chant at least three times, once a day to practice. This way I’ll be well-rehearsed if I want to try the strategy when I am distressed or stressed.

Chanting changes the level of CO2 in your blood stream, and like singing, can create a sense of euphoria or lightness.

Watch this video for a low-key, fun example of using chants to calm ourselves. The little boy in this video has heaps of energy, he gets pretty silly in this and he uses the chant to bring himself back to centre at about 2 minutes in.

Once I am familiar with doing chanting meditation, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy for soothing myself and distracting from distress.

No. 66: Redirect & Breathe

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

…When I find myself worrying about how something will turn out, I will redirect my thoughts by visualising the situation exactly as I would like it to go. In the same way that champion athletes picture themselves successfully completing their task before they begin, I will imagine myself competently going through each motion of the task before me. I will see myself smiling and feeling good. I will imagine myself feeling strong and at ease. I will see the people around me responding positively. I will see myself at the other end of the challenge having come through it well. Each time a new worry surfaces, I will visualise myself handling it well. As I focus my mind on images of myself getting through and enjoying myself doing it, I will take slow breaths in through my nose, allowing my stomach to rise with each breath in. I will let each breath drift out through my loosely pursed lips.

In this way, for a short time, I will give myself physical safety messages with the breathing and psychological safety messages with my visualisation. I will also prepare myself to handle the situation more effectively, because I will have seen what that looks like. This is much more useful than filling my head up with what the worse case scenario looks like. When I find constant worries running through my head, this visualisation could be a good way to redirect them without suppressing them. I can let each of my worries arrive so I can help them leave by imagining it being resolved effectively.

This week I will feed myself visions of strengths and successes. 

Once I am comfortable breathing and redirecting myself to visions of my strengths and successes in everyday situations, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete for moments of stress and distress.

No. 58: Coming Back to Centre

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will be mindful of the calm, light centre I take within me everywhere I go. No matter what life layers on top of me, that centre is unchangeable.  I will be aware that though my moods and thoughts and situation change, I can always return to this light place within.  It is there, even when I can’t see or feel it.  Even if I am feeling really low or dark, the light place within me remains. I can touch it whenever I want to.

When I notice slight shifts in my mood and frame of mind, I will remind myself that I carry this place within me. In my mind’s eye I will visualise this calm centre inside me and I will see myself moving towards it, while I practice the standard breathing exercise.

In this way, I will practice reminding myself of my own intrinsic,  unchangeable worth and capacity to experience something different in a range of different situations.

Once I am comfortable noticing slight shifts in my mood and coming back to centre, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of self-soothing in the midst of distressing situations. 

No. 50: Holding Up An Imaginary Mirror

This week, to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice valuing myself. In a quiet moment each morning, I will sit down and hold up an imaginary hand-mirror in front of my face. I will visualise my own face looking back at me.

Allowing myself to become aware of how I usually talk to myself when I look in the mirror, I will smile at the picture of myself that I have imagined before me.  I will tell this imaginary reflection of myself “I love and value you.”

I will carry this sentiment with me throughout my day. Each time I feel stressed, pressed or distressed, I will return to this visualisation in my mind, reminding myself that ‘I love and value myself’ so I can act accordingly.

No matter what happens, it will be okay in the end, because I will love and value myself.

Whenever I look in an actual mirror, I will say the words directly to myself. Or some other version of the same sentiment: I am enough.

Once I am familiar with sending myself messages of self-worth, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of talking myself through moments when I am stressed or distressed.

No. 35: A Longterm Perspective

This week to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellness…

I will practice tuning into a long-term perspective to shift my mood. When I notice moments of stress, I will take three deep breaths and imagine how I might think and feel about the current situation in five years from now.

By making myself aware of how I will feel and think about a particular stressor in 5 years, I will gain a wider perspective of what is happening in the moment to help reduce any unpleasant feelings and thoughts.

I will remind myself: This too shall pass. While something can seem very intense, overwhelming or unbearable in the moment, once time has passed the emotional intensity does too. With the passage of time solutions are often found for problems, skills and strengths are further developed, lessons are learned, new connections are made and broken bridges are mended. This week I will think long-term and I will observe what happens when I wait and see what happens.

Once I am used to thinking long-term about small, everyday problems, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete to help balance out more intense emotional responses.

No. 22: Planting An Imaginary Garden

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice using visualisation to change the moment. Once a day, I will visualise myself planting and then enjoying my own imaginary garden. My imaginary garden will be my idea of the most perfect garden. This is a private place of my own design.  I will plant my favourite flowers, shrubs, herbs, fruit trees, vegetables and any other plants that I have enjoyed at some time. I will start at the beginning by imagining the piece of land that the garden is on and laying out where I want each thing to be.

The good thing about an imaginary garden is that we can make things flower well or mature whenever we want them to, without having to worry about things like time or seasons! Each time I come back to the visualisation, I can add something else or I can simply take a walk through the garden, watching things grow or just enjoying what is there.  I will imagine the sounds in my garden, perhaps there are birds there or I can simply hear the wind through the trees.  I will furnish the garden with any kinds of extras that I may please, I might hang a hammock under one of the mature trees, I might have a river running through the bottom of the garden, whatever I find peaceful and beautiful in nature, I can put in my garden.

I will create this peaceful ‘space’ in my imagination and I will return to it when I need a bit of calm or some distraction from the intensity of the moment.

Throughout the visualisation I will practice diaphragmatic breathing – deep, soft, slow breaths into my belly. This will help to create a conditioned association between imagining the garden and relaxed breathing, so over time it will become very easy to experience a state of calm when I practice the visualisation.  Once the garden is established in my imagination, I can pop in really briefly and get the same kind of benefit.

I can do this exercise whether I have a garden or don’t have a garden, because in my imaginary garden I am not constrained by any of the rules or barriers that may be present in the real world.

Once I am comfortable using this visualisation to relax, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a way of shifting moments of stress and distress.

No. 20 – Fly Away

This week, in order to attain, maintain or regain my sense of wellbeing…

I will practice moving my attention away from current problems for a moment by visualising that I can fly. Once a day, I will practice visualising that my body has a sense of lightness about it, as if I can free myself from the constraints of gravity whenever I want.  I will imagine that I ‘take off’ from where I stand. I will visualise what my surroundings look like from above. I will soar higher up through the clouds and imagine what they feel like as I fly through them.  My clothes might get damp from the moisture held in the clouds but just before I get cold, I will break through to the sunshine above. I will let the warm sun soak into my skin as the light flows over my upturned face. There is no noise up there except for the sound of a soft wind. I know am completely safe and there is no way I can fall.  I am in control of where I go and how I move.  I fly around for a little while looking at things and then I gently float down to the ground.  I will bring this sense of freedom and lightness with me as I return to the current moment.

Throughout this exercise, I will keep my breathing deep and slow, as in the diaphragmatic breathing exercise.

Once I am familiar with using this visualisation to relax, I will add it to my Personal Coping Kete as a strategy to try soothing or distracting myself from distressing emotions. By turning my attention elsewhere for a moment, I will reduce the intensity of my emotional reaction and give myself space to make a considered response to whatever it is that I am dealing with or reinterpret things.