A Line In Between

We all face anxiety from time to time. Whether you have a presentation, a proposal, an exam, or are taking on a roller coaster ride. These are normal occurrences. However, it is not healthy to wake up every morning feeling an impending sense of doom rush over you like a monsoon. Nor is it healthy to panic because, all of a sudden, you feel as though you may suffer from a heart attack because someone a few seats away from you sneezed and they could be carrying a deadly bacteria.

Whatever it is that gets you on edge in more ways than it should, try this technique my therapist taught me about a few weeks back. I have been using it for the past month, and it has proven helpful in a multitude of stressful and anxiety-invoking situations. This technique is called Guided Imagery . Guided Imagery is an evidence-based psycho-therapeutic intervention that utilizes a grounding technique which stimulates all of your five senses. Guided imagery uses your imagination along with breathing exercises to help you reach a state of deep relaxation, emotional calm, and feelings of being centered with oneself at peace. This exercise has at least 25 years of established research-based findings to support its efficacy. It has been known to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels, manage pain, ease cravings, enhance one's immune function, accelerate weight loss, and aid in the reduction of adverse effects from chemotherapy, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. This very powerful technique can be done anywhere by anyone for at least 10 minutes to truly experience the full benefits. There are many different guided meditations you can listen to online, or you can listen to binaural beats at 400 Hz.

To begin, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Imagine you in are in a safe, comforting, and happy place that makes you feel most fulfilled. Try to imagine what it looks like. What does it smell like? What do you hear? What would you taste? What do you feel? Focus intently on each sensation that you feel and let it fully encapsulate you. Do this for at least 5-10 minutes to fully immerse yourself in your "safe space." Initially, my first "safe space" was Tyler Durden's ice cave from the movie Fight Club. It felt so comforting to imagine laying down in my comforter on my pillows feeling the ice cold breeze on my skin, smelling the crisp cool air of fresh melting water, hearing the melting water drip as it falls down the icicles as I watch the light sparkle on the snow.

Now, I found my perfect "space." Here, I feel most peaceful and happy and one with who I am. I close my eyes and I am floating deep below in the ocean. I see schools of fish and whales a few feet apart. I see the sand floor gust as the fish kick off from the reef. I see the waves fall along the ocean's surface. I hear the water filling up my ears with nothing but white noise. I taste the saltiness of the ocean. I feel the warm water all around me as I am submerged deep below. I feel the sun's rays warming me up from above. Closing my eyes and imagining I am here brings me great comfort and solace. No matter how stressed, anxious, depressed, or upset I am, this always helps and I have to thank my therapist, Zach, for introducing this to me.

Now, I have started to branch out and make more "safe spaces." From the feeling you get standing at the edge of a 20 ft diving board about to jump off, to spinning in circles while ice skating, to looking down from being suspended 100 ft up at a rock climbing wall, to sitting on the warm grass counting the stars in the night sky cuddling next to my future husband, it is all worth it. Once you make your primary "safe space," feel free to get even more creative and imagine a whole map of "safe spaces" that can mentally transport you to a different state of being and calm at any moment, no matter where you are or what you are doing. I have practiced this in my seat before an exam, waiting at the crosswalk in the street, and most especially before going to bed. May this help you as much as it has helped me.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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