A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice

GUIDED MEDITATION - Imaginary Vacation

June 26, 2020 Rebekah Shackney Season 1 Episode 4
A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice
GUIDED MEDITATION - Imaginary Vacation
Show Notes Transcript

This bonus episode takes you on an imaginary vacation through a guided meditation. Please relax, enjoy it and don't forget to subscribe to receive future meditations, conversations and skills sessions.

Thank you for listening today to A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice. Please hit the subscribe button so you won't miss an episode. Future episodes include more interviews and stories about parenting managing mental health, selfcare, and a monthly guided meditation. If you have questions or topics you're interested in, please let me know, go to my website, Rebekahshackney.com, and send me a message through my contact page.

Rebekah Shackney (00:05):

Hi, I'm Rebekah Shackney. As a psychotherapist, I spend my days helping people manage their moods and meet their goals, but I often find it hard to practice what I preach. I encourage my clients to meditate while my meditation practice is only sporadic, but like everyone else I'm trying to do better. This is a therapist takes her own advice.

Rebekah Shackney (00:32):

We could all use some stress reduction now more than ever. So many of us have spent weeks on end staring at the same time, four walls interacting with the same people, dealing with the same problems, day in and day out all with the specter of coronavirus, adding a layer of anxiety to an already stressful situation. Literally everyone in the world is facing this challenge in one way or another. In my house, I have a six year old who's refusing homeschooling a nine year old, who both loves his brother and loves to antagonize him. and a 15 year old who has chosen quarantine as the perfect time to start playing the drums. He always seems to be practicing when I'm on the phone with a client or sitting down to meditate. Basically the soundtrack of my day is boys shouting either in pain or joy peppered with the occasional piercing, scream and intermittent periods of booming drum, riffs like many of you, I need a vacation, but of course that's not possible right now.

Rebekah Shackney (01:42):

So instead of visiting a beautiful tropical Island in person, I go there in my mind with a relaxation technique called taking an imaginary vacation. This visualization exercise can be very powerful because the mind and body reacts similarly, whether something is experienced in reality, or just imagined. In other words, imagining yourself on a beach can be almost as relaxing as an actual day at the beach and who couldn't use a day at the beach. I'm using the beach as an example, but an imaginary vacation can be set anywhere you like…a chalet in the mountains, a bench in a peaceful park or a cabin on a Lake. Any place that you find relaxing. With regular practice, you can solidify your imaginary vacation in your mind so you can return there anytime you need to escape from the stresses of life.  

 

To begin, find a quiet place where you won't be interrupted. Sit comfortably in a relaxing position, close your eyes and take a few long, slow, deep breaths with each breath. Find yourself becoming more and more relaxed and take a moment to think of a vacation spot. Where do you want to go on your imaginary vacation? 

 

Now go in your mind to your imaginary vacation place. Take it in using all of your senses. Notice what it looks like, what time of day it is taken. All the details you can. Are you by yourself or are you with other people? Are you outside? Take a moment and choose something pleasant to look at.

 

What is the weather like? It's the sun warming your body or is there a light rain cooling you? Are you sitting in a hammock or strolling along? Are your feet in the sand, waiting in a stream or slipped inside, cozy slippers, choose something pleasant to feel. 

 

What do you hear? Is music playing? Are people chatting? Do you hear animals? Waves crashing the wind blowing, choose something pleasant to hear. What does it smell like? Is there a fire burning in the fireplace or do you smell the beachy combination of brines, sunscreen and sand? Can you smell flowers or grass? Choose something pleasant to smell.

 

Finally, are you eating or drinking anything? Maybe a marshmallow toasted in a fire or a hot cup of tea or a fancy drink with an umbrella. Choose something pleasant to taste? 

 

Now take a few more moments to solidify this imaginary vacation in your mind. What do you see? Feel, hear, smell, taste. Notice how comfortable and at ease you are now. 

 

Slowly start to bring yourself back. Keeping the feeling of relaxation in your mind and body slowly let your mind drift away from the vacation while keeping that feeling of relaxation in your mind and body. Move your focus back to your breath, breathing in through the nose and out through your mouth. Now take a few more long, slow, deep breaths. And when you're ready, open your eyes and return your focus to the room. Remember you can return to your imaginary vacation anytime you need a break from reality.

Rebekah Shackney (08:44):

Thank you for listening today to A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice. Please hit the subscribe button so you won't miss an episode. Future episodes include more interviews and stories about parenting managing mental health, selfcare, and a monthly guided meditation. If you have questions or topics you're interested in, please let me know, go to my website, Rebekahshackney.com, and send me a message through my contact page.