Imagine Pleasure Images to Reduce Stress and Anxiety -- By Sharon Burch

People tend to worry in words or sentences, as though they’re talking to themselves about possible negative events. Yet when we practice seeing pleasant images -- what brings us a sense of peace and well-being -- we can reduce our anxiety and stress.

With practice, habitual worriers can recognize when their mind has been led into a whirlpool of worry by anxious words or self-talk, and they can escape the whirlpool or avoid it in the first place. So consider what images help you climb out of the whirlpool worry. Perhaps you're on a beach watching the waves, or you're sitting in your backyard, imagining glimpsing a favorite bird. Maybe you find peace by seeing yourself in a quiet log cabin high in the mountains, watching sunset through the windows, or you are laughing uncontrollable with your sister. Consider what images feed your soul, then go to them in anxious times.

In multiple studies, both guided imagery and recalling positive memories for a little time each day have been shown to reduce anxiety and feelings of stress. So give yourself time and space to find and re-visit the images and memories that remind you of greater joy and calm.


For more help to reduce anxiety and stress, see Sharon Burch, APRN, at the Atma Clinic: