Guided Imagery for Anxiety: Reduce Anxiety & Improve Self-Confidence

Do you struggle with the symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and tension? Are your anxiety symptoms also affecting your self-confidence? Having to cope with anxiety daily can be draining. Using guided imagery for anxiety, you can not only address your symptoms but also improve your self-confidence too.
What is Guided Imagery?
The Academy for Guided Imagery (AGI) defines a mental imagery as, “elements of the unconscious are invited to appear as images that can communicate with the conscious mind.”

In this process, you access images that allow you to connect with your consciousness and empower you to be successful.
What Kinds of Methods Are Used in Guided Imagery?
Some ways that guided imagery is utilized include:

  • Active imagination
  • Game playing
  • Dream interpretation
  • Drawing
  • Active imagination
  • Visualization
  • Metaphor/story-telling

How Can Guided Imagery be Used?
A classic example of guided imagery is the basketball player who closes their eyes and imagines making a free throw shot. The player stands at the free-throw line, eyes closed, and imagines themselves holding the ball. They stretch out their arms, jump, and mentally see the ball flying through the air and into the basket. They then throw the ball in real-life and make the shot. Since basketball players make many free-throws, they can access a memory where they previously made a shot. They then apply that memory to the current situation.
Using Guided Imagery for Anxiety
So, how can you use guided imagery for anxiety? Guided imagery can help you visualize yourself being successful when experiencing anxiety. When you feel anxiety coming on, you can better cope with the situation and relax. Over time, as you continue to have these kinds of successful experiences, your confidence in your ability to control your anxiety improves.
Ways to Use Guided Imagery for Anxiety
Some ideas for using guided imagery for anxiety include:

  • Imagining yourself feeling anxious and using a coping skill to calm down before certain situations happen.
  • Remembering a time when you were able to cope with your anxiety successfully.
  • Anticipating when you might experience anxiety and developing a plan to cope with it.

Think of guided imagery as creating a scenario in which you imagine your success. All kinds of people use scenarios as a training tool for handling real-life situations. These include emergency response workers, military personnel, even astronauts! When they encounter real-life situations they can access memories of their training and make appropriate decisions. If guided imagery is good enough for them, it can certainly help for coping with anxiety.
An Example of Using Guided Imagery for Anxiety
Let’s say that you experience anxiety when you think that something is dirty, such as a doorknob. You know that when you have to use a doorknob you begin to feel tense, maybe your breathing gets more rapid. Instead of getting more anxious, you:

  • imagine yourself saying a phrase to yourself to calm down.
  • visualize slowing down your breathing.
  • see yourself reaching up and touching the doorknob.
  • turn the knob and walk through the doorway.
  • close the door and walk away.

By going over the scenario in your head before the situation happens, when you are calm, you can better envision yourself being successful.
What if I Need Additional Help?
If you are struggling to come up with some guided imagery for anxiety ideas or scenarios, you can always consult with a therapist to brainstorm ideas and come up with some together. You can also discuss with your therapist times you used guided imagery in real-life.

Guided imagery is a great tool, useful for coping with your anxiety symptoms, and for boosting your self-confidence. By using guided imagery for anxiety, you train yourself to better respond to anxious situations. Over time, this can help relieve your symptoms and promote less stress in your life.

Questions, Concerns, Thoughts?

I invite you to call me for a free 15 – minute phone consultation to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about anxiety, treatment and my practice. Please visit my website @ www.theanxietydocseattle.com or call me directly @ (206) 745-4933.