Using Evocative Imagery to Ease Stress

In my last blog post, I wrote about using imagery and metaphor in times of stress. In this post, I want to talk about another powerful technique to use to ease stress by creating a resourceful state of being. The technique is called Evocative Imagery.

When used therapeutically, Evocative Imagery is a technique that helps evoke a new state of being that reverses the negative effects of overwhelming emotions. This technique is powerful when we need more of a certain quality, like courage, to support us during times of personal challenge.

Here’s how you can use this technique at home.

Determine what quality you need more of: courage, peace, happiness, focus – whatever will help you now in your current circumstances. Remember an experience when you used that quality or when you saw that quality used by someone else. Observe what happened, what you saw, heard, felt (physically and mentally)—notice your face, posture, voice; where you were, who was with you, what was the outcome, how did you or others behave—notice everything.

Then imagine you have that quality right now—feel it and begin to magnify that quality until it fills you from the inside out. Now, imagine yourself with that amplified quality doing something where you are presently: what do you look like? What do you see, feel, hear, etc.? Play out that experience, watching yourself as your behavior changes, notice every detail and recognize how your images adjust to incorporate that new quality. Take a minute to enjoy the experience of watching yourself use that new amplified quality naturally and easily. Notice how that quality has helped you enter a resourceful state of being.  

Practice this exact process with the new quality consistently over the next few days and begin to take note of how your behavior begins to change.

*Remember, as always, this technique takes practice and is no substitute for seeking professional help.