Thursday, April 26, 2012

Soothing Imagery

As most of you know by now, recently I had my first full-blown panic attack. To those of you who have suffered with these over the years and continue to suffer from them, my heart goes out to you. It was probably the scariest thing I've ever experienced and I spent the next few weeks afterward feeling extremely anxious and fearful that I would have another attack. Every little thing spooked me, anything that reminded me of the experience of my attack would start make me feel worried that another one was starting. I will still occasionally have a sudden shock hit me and I'll feel a sharp chest pain, but it's nothing like it was a few weeks ago. 

Frankly I don't feel like my problem is bad enough to require medication (at least I hope not, since taking medication is another thing that I'm anxious about) especially since I've been learning some coping techniques that are helping calm my body down when it begins having physical symptoms of anxiety. And that's what brings me to my topic today.

I've begun a program that was recommended to me by my acupuncturist to help teach me skills to deal with my anxiety and in this week's lesson, one of the action assignments was to choose several beautiful, detailed, post cards or greeting cards. If I begin to feel frazzled or frantic about something, I should sit down somewhere comfortable and look at my images, but not just a cursory glance, I'm supposed to focus in on them, particularly the details. It's recommended I do this several times a week and then take notice of how my body feels after about ten minutes of doing this. 

I haven't tried this yet, and in fact when I went to the mall today and looked for post cards, all I found were tacky Florida ones. So this afternoon I spent some time finding imagery that I can hopefully put on my phone that way I can carry it with me. I wanted to share a few of my favorites though, and encourage those of you who are so inclined, to find and share some of what you find personally soothing or calming to look at. 

I'd also like to note that I don't intend to make this kind of thing the focus of this blog. I'm actually keeping a journal now to record details of my anxiety attacks and how I'm feeling and what kinds of thoughts I'm having, but something like this I feel could be beneficial for just about anyone, and unfortunately this is part of my life now, so it was bound to come up eventually. 

So anyway, now on to the pretties!

These two I especially love because this is a location I've actually been to. When I was 17 I was kindly invited to join friends of mine on an RV camping trip through Yellowstone National Park. On the way back to Colorado we drove through Jackson Hole, WY and saw the Grand Tetons. If it wasn't for the expense and me being unsure of how I'd handle a Wyoming winter, I swear I'd move there in a heartbeat. The beauty is incredible and I felt so happy there. I wish we could have spent more time there but we couldn't. It's a dream of mine to return there one day, and in the meantime I can look at these beautiful pictures. 

There's lots of different types of plants and colors and textures going on in this picture. It has a calming element but still has a lot of details to focus on. 

Waterfalls for me personally are tricky. I love them. BUT in terms of soothing imagery, if I look at a waterfall with an especially heavy flow or if it's very tall or the angle of the picture is taken from the edge where the water goes over, it's more likely to induce stressful feelings. It's still beautiful but it's a dangerous feeling beauty. So most waterfalls that I would consider soothing are very short in height and light on flow. 

This picture I think is one of my favorites. It's got a lovely waterfall in the background and then in the foreground are all these gnarly roots to look at. There's a lot to focus your eye and mind on when you look at something like that. So anyway, those were a sampling of what I found, I look forward to seeing what you guys find!


  1. The birthing class I took had a section where we had to do an imagery exercise. It IS surprisingly soothing. I am going to try to dig up some shots I've taken that remind me of some of your photos here and send them your way. :)

    1. Please do!

      Yeah the breathing techniques I've been doing remind me of the days when I was taking birthing classes. They can be pretty helpful in calming me down.

  2. I tried focusing on them when I had my anxiety attack last night but it didn't work. The water fall was nice, but the gnarly roots detracted from its calmness. lol The others didn't do it for me either. So....I will have to find different pics to try next time.

    PS take off the captcha thingy. I hate those things cuz Its hard to find one I can actually get right.

    1. If you're in the middle of a full-blown anxiety attack this technique probably wouldn't be the first thing I'd go to. I think I'd try to find somewhere comfortable to recline or lay down and put my earbuds in and try to listen to something soothing while I do my breathing exercises to calm my body down. And then once I'm calmed down a little then maybe try something like this...

      But yeah, these were images that appealed to me, but I definitely encourage everyone to find their own soothing images and by all means share your finds! ^_^