Ah, modern life. It's constantly riddled with anxiety, whether that be at work, with friends or at home.
In a world where we are always connected and always online, how can we combat the overwhelming thoughts?
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That's where visualization comes in. It might sound a little bit 'woo-woo', but research shows that these mini-meditations can help reduce anxiety and improve performance.
A 2017 article in journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed self-guided positive visualisation techniques can combat negative thoughts, potentially changing the way the brain functions.
In time for World Mental Health Day (October 10th), the team at NetCredit have put together seven visualization methods that can ease an anxious mind:
1. Double-paned window technique
You've had a long day at work and all you want to do is hit the hay and drift off to sleep. But as soon as you close your eyes, the anxious thoughts begin. Whether you're overloaded at work or worried about the future, sometimes when your head hits the pillow, those unwanted thoughts just won't quit.
Use it: When anxious thoughts are keeping you awake
Step 1: Picture a bunch of people chatting loudly outside your open window - but don't shout at them.
Step 2: You have a double-glazed window, so just calmly close it.
Step 3: The annoying chatting is silenced, and you are free to sleep.
2. Stop sign technique
It happens to us all: something doesn't go quite right, and you immediately go to the worst-case scenario or starting beating yourself up. Intrusive thoughts can disrupt your life and become a major source of anxiety, but this simple visualization helps stop those unwanted thoughts in their tracks.
Use it: When you have an unwanted thought
Step 1: Visualise a big red stop sign on an empty street with a clear blue sky overhead.
Step 2: Focus on the stop sign and repeat the word "stop."
Step 3: No more unwanted thoughts will be able to enter your consciousness, your anxiety will fade and you can go about your day.
3. Blender technique
Do you often sit at your workstation feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to get through? It's a common problem. Sometimes it feels like you don't even know where to start. This visualisation can help calm you down and give you the clear head you need to tackle that inbox or big project.
Use it: When you have a stressful amount of work emails to go through
Step 1: Visualise a blender being switched on. It's full of food and starts to grind and chop loudly.
Step 2: Mentally shut the blender (and it's noise) off, and you will feel an instant sense of calm.
4. Quiet is a liquid technique
Life can sometimes feel overwhelming; we're bombarded with information all day long and it's often difficult to silence our chattering minds. This visualisation can help you silence the noise and focus your thoughts.
Use it: When you feel overwhelmed by your chattering mind
Step 1: Visualize 'quiet' as a thick, clear liquid, filling your head with peace and quiet.
Step 2: See it pouring slowly down your body, filling you with the clear liquid until you feel like a liquid ball.
Step 3: Once you're in this zone, breathe deeply and stay in this position for a few minutes.