Welcome to this exercise of guided imagery.
On this occasion we will visit a beautiful, peaceful meadow. Before we begin, let’s take a moment to unwind. Make sure that you are in comfortable position. Close your eyes and take this moment to observe your body, if there is any tension, adjust your position to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. Now, draw attention to your breathing, is it shallow? Are you breathing at a fast pace? Let slow our breathing to a relaxed pace. Take a deep breath in….and breathe out. One more time, breathe in… and as you breathe out, release tension from your body. Good… continue this rhythm of breathing, releasing tension from your body with each exhalation…
Imagine a white movie screen in front of you. As you observe it, you notice a shape beginning to form, the image that forms is your favourite place. It can be any place you want. Your childhood house, a location where you had a great holiday, even a cosy nook next to a fireplace...
It can also be a fictional place, what is important is that it brings you peace. This space is safe and only yours.
Once you have chosen the location, you begin to see it more clearly on the movie screen, noticing details, how does it feel? What is the temperature like? What aromas form part of it?
As you imagine the details, you realise that this place is no longer on a screen, but that you are in it and can appreciate every detail of this place with all your senses.
Take a moment to enjoy all the sensations that arise. Now picture some more details about your peaceful place. Who is in this place? Are you alone? Or perhaps you are with someone else? Are there other people present? Animals? Birds? Imagine who is at your place, whether it is you only, or if you have company.
Picture yourself in this peaceful place. Imagine a feeling of calm..... of peace..... a place where you have no worries, cares, or concerns.... a place where you can simply rejuvenate, relax, and enjoy just being.
Take a moment to observe the sounds in your relaxing place, what would they be?
In this place, take a moment to close your eyes, your senses heightened to your surroundings as you do so. What aromas arise in this relaxing place? How is the temperature? Remember, every detail in this place brings you peace and calm your mind.. Take a deep breath to appreciate this environment…..
Now, observe this relaxing place once more and focus now on the highlights of your place: colours, shapes.... objects.... plants..... water..... all the beautiful things that make your place enjoyable.
How do you enjoy this place? You can choose to sit and relax, or perhaps choose to take a little walk, in this place, you can do anything that brings you peace…
Enjoy your peaceful place for a few moments more. Memorize the sights, sounds, and sensations around you. Know that you can return to this place in your mind whenever you need a break.
Take a bit more time to enjoy this space and let yourself sink deep into the feeling of complete relaxation…
Time for bed..!
Foot note: In 2020 I worked alongside three academics who helped build a CBTI sleep therapy app for me. I decided against starting the project as I felt the medium at the time (mobile phone apps) was not immersive enough to do the excellent work justice (but watch this space).
The three were Achilleas Pavlou who is currently a Lecturer in Psychology and Clinical Communication Skills at the University of Nicosia Medical School. Tania Karina Garcia Vite BSc Psychology, MsC Sleep Disorders. Dr Nicholas Cooper Senior Lecturer Department of Psychology University of Essex.
The sleep series is thus based on that collaboration...