In 2021, we sent out this collection of de-stressing exercises to a group of clients over the span of 10 weeks in hopes that they might help alleviate the anxiety of debt as our clients moved through their programs. We received such amazing feedback that we wanted to make sure the rest of our clients had access to these 10 meditation, mindfulness, and awareness exercises as well! We’ll be releasing a new one each Monday morning, so check in at the start of each week for a brand new exercise.
Here’s a simple exercise that can be part of your process of being present and fully aware of where you are and what you’re doing—all with the help of your imagination. This exercise will help you use visualization to achieve a state of mind that gives you power over debt.
Step 1: Setting the Stage
When learning to use visualization, you need to find a place where you will not be distracted or interrupted for a few minutes—someplace quiet and relaxing. If you need to lock a door, do it. Even if you must sit in your car, take the time to do it. We’re discussing your mental health; be good to yourself and make this a priority.
Take a minute to relax your body with a couple of deep breaths. Now choose whatever setting is most calming to you, whether it’s a tropical beach, a happy place from your childhood, or a babbling brook in a wooded glen. Pick one place that you know will relax you and help you tune everything else out.
Step 2: The Sense of Calm
Close your eyes and imagine your relaxing place. Picture it as vividly as you can. Experience it as if you were there. Focus on what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible.
For example, if you are thinking about sitting on a dock by a quiet lake, you can:
- See the sun go down over the water
- Hear the loons start to call to each other
- Smell the evergreen trees and flowers
- Feel the weathered boards of the dock on your bare feet
- Taste the fresh, clean air
Let your imagination of this beautiful place fill your mind and provide you peace.
Step 3: You Are Here
Enjoy the feeling of your worries drifting away as you slowly explore your restful place. Feel the calmness and serenity engulf you. Say to yourself, “I am here, and this is my life.” Savor the vision as long as you can.
And only when you are ready, open your eyes, come back to the present and believe your journey will only become more accessible from here. Don’t worry if you zone out or lose track of where you are while you are visualizing. This is normal and should be a welcoming state of mind.
After you practice visualization by yourself and in quiet places, you can try this exercise during your daily life. Try it before you must do something stressful like paying the bills or talking about finances.
Remember the image of an athlete using visualization as they get ready to compete or an actress before going on stage? If they can learn to use visualization in their most stressful times, so can you.
It does take practice, even when you are experienced and can use it in your daily lives. But it is a potent tool that helps us de-stress and helps us become better people.
Join Our Client Sessions
If you’re interested in learning more about ways to stay motivated, cope with stress, and receive other support, contact [email protected] and ask to be invited to our “Join the Conversation” sessions. These private virtual sessions are specially designed as a safe space for clients in the Beyond Finance program. You’ll learn about different topics related to dealing with debt, meet other clients in the program, and participate in a Q & A session where you can ask our financial therapists anything you like.