We try our best to face our problems and find a solution to them as best as we can. However, once in a while we may run into a problem that we cannot find a solution to or its solution is out of our hands. I learned a neat little exercise from my behaviour modification professor for just this ailment. A lot of the normal meditation exercises were too difficult to for me to relax for, but this particular one caught my attention because it needed the use of my wild imagination (in other words, it didn’t bore me). I tried it today for something that was bothering me for weeks, and also just for fun.
Here, try it with me. You may want to read it first, then close your eyes and do it on your own.
(Disclaimer: I learned that not all exercises work for everyone and if you feel discomfort at any point, feel free to stop it and do not proceed. It just happens to be one of my favourites and it seems to work for me if I do it properly and with my full focus.)
- Close your eyes and think about/ choose a problem that is giving you anxiety.
- Imagine the anxiety in your head as an object. I usually go with the first one that pops up in my head. It can be a red ball of wool, a blue balloon or whatever suits your fancy.
- Try to make sure all your anxiety is now converted into that object you have visualized in your mind. You can imagine its colour, shape and size etc. to make it real-ish in your mind.
- Now relax, breathe deeply and slowly make the object smaller and smaller in your mind until it disappears (or shrinks significantly). There’s no need to rush.
- Now open your eyes and feel the anxiety disappear or at the least reduced.
By reducing the visualized object that was subbing in for your anxiety, you indirectly reduce your anxiety. It tells your mind that it is possible to feel better and reminds you of your control over the problem. If you end up trying it successfully or even if you don’t, I would love to hear about it. Good luck!