Escape the Stress Trap: Develop a Visualization Practice

Escape the Stress Trap: Develop a Visualization Practice

This exercise to develop a visualization practice will guide you through a unique process for reclaiming a calm, focused mind. This will help you access your creative goals and deepen your sense of peace by awakening the power of your imagination.

As someone who began her studies of the alternative healing arts out of necessity, I have navigated some of the big, serious life struggles using the tools found in this little workbook. I personally work with these activities on a weekly, if not daily basis and offer them here to you as a starting place as you discover how to build your own unique map to navigate the stress of modern life.

Mapping your current location with your desired destination.

We need two points on a map for a map to be useful. Where you are and where you want to go. While you can probably speak at length about the details of where you are right now regarding a struggle, we want to focus on locating that second coordinate, the destination point on our map.
Take a pen and notebook and answer these questions: What would improvement feel like? What would improvment look like? What would be different in your life tomorrow if a real improvement happened?

While immersed in the all-consuming thoughts about our struggles and frustrations, it can be hard to imagine life without our problems. But if we are ever going to resolve a problem, we need to have a sense of what life would be like if that problem were solved.

We can be reluctant to let ourselves imagine peace because while we are so far away from it, imagining what we want but don’t have is just frustrating and adds to our pain. This is how the stress cycle stays in place. We need courage to face the pain of feeling what we want while far away from that aim. We need to find the strength to endure the frustration of being at the beginning of an endeavor to be able to take consistent steps forward towards it.
But how do we find the energy to do that after having experienced consistent roadblocks. If we have put effort in without achieving results, it is understandable that we would start to believe it is not possible to break past the invisible barrier to our goals.

How can we break the cycle of discouragement? What is causing that cycle in the first place? Our imaginations, of course. What else could be causing it?
You may not be aware of this, but we are compulsively imagining disaster scenarios all the time. Where did we learn how to do that? Watching television. Even if you have succesfully identified a television addiction and taken steps to separate yourself from that high-intensity stress generator, you probably still have years of childhood exposure to the effects television has on our nervous system and our creative minds. Growing up in a TV Nation has conditioned our minds to expect sudden car crashes or other devastating events. Our nervous system is jumpy and it is now difficult to feel safe or calm even in peaceful environments. But the good news is that if it is our imagination that is generating stress, it is our imagination that can counter those imagined images.

The power of your imagination is the only thing in this world that will ever heal any injury or solve any problem. Your ability to flip the mental narrative from negative to positive is the only ability you ever need to develope in your healing arts studies. All other sciences, such as herbalism, accupuncture, mantra healing, you name it, will all fall into place as powerful tools as soon as you empower your imagination to think creatively rather than destructively.

Let’s find a helper.

There is a reason children have imaginary friends. Imaginary friends are helpful. They give the child a sense of security from a being that is stronger and more capable and who know best how to navigate difficult situations. Imaginary friends are a source of comfort and it is my belief that every child has imaginary friends, even though many do not speak about them out loud.

When we grow up we lose touch with those powerful resources as we learn how to live in the practical here and now of school and family demands.

But legalizing our right to have imaginary resources again is a deeply empowering personal tool that we can use at any time and never need share with anyone. When in the deepest, heaviest times of my depression, I knew I did not have the ability to lift myself out of my negative mindset. But I did have the willingness to imagine that someone else stronger than me could do this for me. I had the ability to believe in magic or supernatural forces. I knew I didn’t want to feel bad anymore and I knew I didn’t want to take pharmaceuticals, so I decided to empower my imagination.

Locate your Higher Self: Visualization Exercise 1- White Screening to call forth a Guide. 

Grab a notebook and a pen.

1. Before beigining a visualization journey, it is important to take a moment to clarify what the purpose of the journey is for. Otherwise we will just mill about in unspecified spaces of color and general words of wisdom that don’t hold our attention. What are you specifically wanting help with? Take a notebook and use this writing prompt to clarify your journey:

A major source of stress for me right now is: (use 5 words or less to describe)
I am now turning to my imagination to seek help specifically with this situation involving (name a person involved or an event).
I am hoping (_______) will happen in relation to this.

2. Once you’ve clarified what you want to improve or resolve, close your eyes and imagine that you fill your mind completely with white. (You can use any color you want but I use white because all other colors have a tone and feeling to them that may influence the visualization work.) Filling your mind with white can be like imagining a thick, bright, fluffy cloud, or it could be a huge swath of white oil paint. It could be a huge drive-in movie screen, or it could be a giant white bedsheet hanging on a clothes line in a space you feel deeply at home in. Imagine the way you enjoy filling your mind with white.
Once you have a field of white empty space, ask that space a specific question and watch an image or a word emerge. For the purposes of this exercise, the question we will ask our inner white screen will be, “Who can be a guide for me right now in my current issue with _______”

3. After asking this question, sit quietly and wait for an inner movement to emerge. If busy thoughts come back, just gently counter those thoughts by reestablishing your preferred white screen situation. Bring back the fluffy cloud, the white sheet, or the giant cotton ball you imagined and hold that empty space gently with all your attention.

Something may emerge in that moment. . .

1.An animal may step out of the woods or surface from the ocean to look at you. This is a Power Animal Guide and its messages to you are found in observing its shape, sound, and claim to fame. (Every animal is famous for doing some extraordinary unique thing.)

2. A light being may materialize with otherworldly colors and deeply inspiring heart sensations. These are Spirit Guides and could take on the culturally informed images of angels or dieties or historical figures such as beloved world leaders.

3. A Medicine Way Ancestor from your family system could also emerge. Every family going back through time had healers and lightworkers in their system of relatives. You have ancestors who survived challenges that are similar to the ones you face. Those ancestors are in your very DNA and can be located by you through your imagination at any time. Were your ancestors Celts? Were they Samurais? Were they Shamans of the African plains? Finding an ancestor guide does not have to correspond to your current ethnicity.

4. A sentence or word may come to mind. It may be that you do not receive visual images from the higher dimensions, but rather sound frequency messages. If you find the visualization process difficult, it may be helpful for you to hold a pen in your hand and have a note book nearby so that scribbles of words, phrases, or even just chicken scratch can occur. You will understand your own messages.

What if nothing happens?

It is not possible to engage in an intentional exercise and have nothing happen. It may feel like nothing happened because your perception is either wary of “woo-woo” exercises or a part of you needs to feel safer in the realm of imagining. Know that just by reading through this workbook and sitting down to give it a try has had a tremendous positive effect on the situation you are seeking help with. Specific solutions and courses of action may not come to your conscious awareness, but you will probably notice that you do feel more relaxed. Relaxation is the only pathway into deeper learning. We can not learn anything if we are tense.
If your mind does not go on an imaginary journey, honor that something deep within is also needing to hold your attention in the here and now. Don’t push or feel frustrated if nothing happens. That will only delay relaxation. Instead, seek out activities that help you feel good and put you in a power place. Don’t judge what that activity may be. Just prioritize relaxation. Don’t worry, you won’t want to play a video game forever. But if something relaxes you, follow it, let it be legal in your world.

If what you find relaxing is a known destructive behavior, such as drinking or other substances, write down on a peace of paper this question, “What pain am I self-medicating and why am I not willing to face that pain?”
If you struggle with compulsive addictions, you probably have a legacy burden, which is to say, you are carrying the feelings and trauma conditions of someone else in your family system. The process of discovering this hidden loyalty and releasing it can be very effectively addressed through Family Constellations work.

To Close the Journey:

When you feel the images or messages from your imagination have conveyed all they have to offer, it is time to thank the space and the energies that showed up. You can express this closing gratitude by literally entering a bowing posture on the ground which has the added benefit of being relaxing. Or you can imagine yourself bowing. You can also imagine a gesture of closure such as taking down the sheet from the close line, or having the white cloud disperse into blue sky. You could close a box or blow out a candle. Whatever gesture defines the journey as closed is the perfect one.

Going on a walk after an imagination journey is an excellent way to return to the world. Notice how your relationship to the issue has changed!
Key pointers to overcome resistence in doing what could easily be called a silly, childish exercise”

If you struggle to find time for self-care amidst a busy schedule, remember that even small moments of engaging these ideas can make a difference. Prioritize activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. The amount of time you spend on something is not as important as your effort to connect with it at all, even if for a few minutes. Your intent and willingness is the real transformer here, not the actual exercises.

Let go of the pressure to be perfect or to do an amazing job. In fact, aim to do an okay, mediocre job. Progress, not perfection, is what matters most.

Nice work!

Congratulations on completing “Escape the Stress Trap: Build Your Personal Wellness Map to Navigate Modern Stresses.” By engaging in the exercises and reflecting on your experiences, you’ve taken a powerful step toward reclaiming your well-being and navigating stress with grace and resilience. Remember to integrate these practices into your daily life and continue exploring what brings you joy, peace, and fulfillment. You have the power to create a life filled with balance, vitality, and meaning. Keep shining bright!

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jess. In my own experience when working through my own struggles in life, I found the process of traditional psychotherapy to be too formal and analytical.  I was frustrated with how talk therapy seemed to circle the airport and never land a solution or resolution.  When I found Constellations work I realized the importance of connecting to a greater mysterious power of Grace when searching for the healing movement. When I discovered IFS, (Internal Family Systems work) I realized the power of my imagination to heal and release buried pain. Resolutions to my struggles really began to land for me with Family Constellations and IFS work. Because I found real results in these alternative healing methods, I have dedicated my life to studying them and bringing these resources to others.

Learn more about me

Escape the Stress Trap: Develop a Visualization Practice

Join Our Mailing List

* indicates required