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Indulging in Free Vacation

Posted in: Articles, Articles
Nov 5, 2009 - 3:40:03 PM

By Michael G. Rayel, MD

Do you want to have a free vacation? Have you ever tried being on vacation without leaving your own home? And it’s free?


My best friend from high school thought I was just pulling his leg. He even blurted a that’s-not-possible statement with a smirk.


Apart from breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, one of the effective ways in dealing with stress is to go on virtual vacation. What is it? How is it done? Why is it virtual? Is it just as good as the real one?


Let’s discuss visualization as the sole means of creating virtual reality as a way of coping with daily stresses, anxiety, anger, and tension.


Visualization, a mental exercise, can give you a free vacation without having to book a hotel or a flight. It can put you in any place that you desire or any situation that you crave for.


You can do it right where you are, anytime of the day if necessary. What you only need is a little privacy to create the calmness and tranquility you deserve.


How do you perform visualization?


There are three steps to follow. First, put yourself in a relaxed state through breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation (the latter exercises were discussed in my last article). Or if you want to feel calm, you can exercise first before breathing exercises or muscle relaxation.


Second, with your eyes closed, visualize or imagine yourself in a relaxing, comfortable, and enjoyable place. For instance, you can picture yourself walking on the shores of sunny Florida or Bahamas. If you love winter, picture yourself snowshoeing in the middle of a snowcapped mountain. The key here is to put yourself in a place where you will feel so relaxed. It can be anywhere — woods, near rivers and ponds, mountain peaks, and ski trails.


Third, experience the place using your five senses. For example, while walking on a powdery-white sand beach, you enjoy the sight of children playing in the sand as you feel the warmth of the air gently touching your skin. As well, you can hear the waves as they approach the rocky coastline. Walking further, you smell the barbecue aroma nearby while you sip an ice-cold apple juice.

In visualization, enjoy the whole experience. Imagine that you’re moving around, shaking the hands of people you meet. Cherish every moment. Savor the sceneries you’ve created. And stay there as long as you want or until you feel relaxed and comforted.


Although you can visualize in a sitting position, you’re better off performing it while lying down if you want to fully relax.


How often should you perform visualization?


You can do this mental exercise, as frequent as you want, preferably twice a day when you’re tensed and under extreme pressure. Once the stresses are gone however, you may reduce the frequency and do it only as needed.


Like breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, visualization is portable, free, and effective. Just try it and you’d easily grasp what I mean.

About the Author:

Dr. Michael G. Rayel — author, game inventor, and psychiatrist — has created the Oikos Game Series to promote emotional health and A 31-Day Series to help kids and teens. Since 2005, he has published Oikos’ Insights! www.oikosinsights.com as an online resource for personal development. Visit www.oikosglobal.com for more info. Also, he has offered psychiatry board review for ABPN II. Visit www.psychedu.com for details.


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