Helpful Visualizations

After an experience on a cruise ship as a teenager, I was very skeptical of hypnosis. But then last year, I started seeing a hypnotist to help with my chronic headaches, and she really helped me. I recorded one of our sessions together, and for a long time, lying down and playing that calming recording was my first line of defense against a budding headache. I was shocked at how often what I had previously thought was “definitely going to turn into a full-blown awful headache” would dissipate with simply some focused rest. That I had a tool in my bag besides pills was honestly a revelation.

I no longer see that hypnotist, but I do still use that recording. And I’ve expanded my listening repertoire through the handy (and free!) Insight Timer app. I use the Playlists tab and listen to guided meditations to help deal with headaches and also general stress, anxiety, and to help fall asleep. It’s really helpful for me so thought I’d share some of my favorites culled from hours of experimentation:

  • “Deep Rest Meditation” by Mary & Richard Maddux – I listen to this when I need to rest during the day, not necessarily to fall asleep at night.
  • “Working with Challenging Emotions and Experiences” by Shelby Leigh – Great for when you’re down on yourself and need to be gentler.
  • “Relax into Sleep Guided Meditation” by Mary & Richard Maddux
  • “Breathing into Sleep” by Bethany Auriel-Hagan – Both of these are amazing for falling asleep. I can’t tell you how they end, they’re that good.
  • “Decrease Anxiety & Increase Peace” by Andrea Wachter  – Good for doing just that 🙂 Very calming.
  • “Meditation for Headaches” by Celia Roberts – Such a useful pain visualization for me when I’m at the beginning of a headache.

The amazing thing about guided meditations or visualizations is how little prep or space you need to do them. Besides a phone (and headphones if you’d like) they can be helpful pretty much anywhere.

Those meditations above are the inspiration for a piece I’m working on now for The Gentle Issue about bringing gentleness to you. I’ve never made a “game as meditation visualization” before, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going so far, and I’m excited to share it with you when it’s ready.

loop of a face being calmed by clouds

I hope those meditations are helpful for you, and please let me know in the comments if you have favorites of your own! Thanks, and have a restful Friday.