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Sensory-Based Relaxation Exercise to Address Panic & Anxiety

This sensory relaxation script will guide you to imagine a variety of sensations to help focus the mind and promote relaxation. This journey through the senses will include sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and movement.

To begin the sensory relaxation process, imagine that you are at the top of a stairway. At the bottom of the stairway is a state of peace, calm, and relaxation. Notice how you are feeling right now, at the top of the stairway. 


Begin to descend the stairway, going down toward relaxation..... down and down to a state of calm and relaxation.

Picture yourself going slowly down the stairway, one step at a time. It is a comfortable, safe descent to a place of relaxation. Move down step by step, at your own pace, becoming more and more relaxed with each step.  You might even become a bit sleepy as you get closer and closer to relaxation. That's okay. Allow your mind to drift and your body to relax, heavy and comfortable.  Moving down the stairway, down, down... almost to the bottom now.... when you reach the bottom you will be pleasantly relaxed.  Now that you are experiencing a feeling of relaxation, create a mental picture in your mind of these relaxing visual images.


Imagine looking at an entire field of flowers from a great distance.  See the flowers growing all the way to the horizon, as far as you can see. Focus in closer and closer until you are able to focus on several blossoms at arm's length.  Now imagine looking at one beautiful flower. See the color of the flower in your mind. See the petals, the leaves, the stem. Imagine looking at the flower from very close up. See the minute details of the flower including any texture in the petals, drops of water, grains of pollen.  Create a new visual image in your mind now... imagine that you are looking at a piece of crystal. As the light shines on the crystal, a rainbow of colors appears. The crystal itself is transparent, but becomes bathed in a variety of colors as light is transformed on its surfaces and within the crystal. See the shining colors... moving... ever changing.... flowing.... See the surfaces of the crystal and the light shining upon them and reflecting off of them. Are the surfaces smooth or rough? Rounded? Sharp? Imagine this beautiful piece of crystal. Picture turning and moving the crystal to see the light play upon the crystal and radiate from it. Can you see through the crystal? What does that look like? Imagine looking at the colors, textures, and shape of the crystal. 


Let's move on now to one of the other senses - hearing.

Can you imagine the sound of waves? Hear in your mind the sound of waves washing to shore.

What about the sounds of a park on a sunny day? You might hear birds singing, children playing, people talking, dogs barking, a splashing fountain.... Imagine the sounds of the breeze blowing at the park.... the sounds of a game of catch.... laughter... the rhythmic thud of a ball as it is caught in a glove, thrown, and caught in a glove again.... What other sounds might you hear at the park?

Now imagine a different sound. The sound of rain on a roof. Imagine the sound of the rain as each drop lands. You may hear the sound of a gentle rain, a few scattered drops. Or you may hear a harder rain, the constant tap, tap, tap of many drops landing together. Hear the sound of the rain.


Now let's imagine the sense of smell.

Can you imagine the scent of baking cookies?

Imagine the smell of baking bread.

The smell of a pine forest. Smell the pine trees... the soil.... the smell of the outdoors.

Imagine the smell of a rose. Imagine the smell of the rose so clearly, it is as if there is a rose right in front of you, and you have brought it close to your nose to inhale its sweet scent.


Now, move on to imagine the sense of taste.

Imagine placing a slice of lemon against your tongue... imagine the sour taste of the lemon if you were to bite into the slice.

Now imagine the taste of something sweet - a candy, a cookie.

Think of a food that you like.... now imagine taking a bite of this food. Taste the food.

Let's imagine now the sense of touch.

Picture an animal that you like - maybe a friendly dog, cat, or rabbit - with very soft fur. Imagine stroking the animal... feel the soft fur on the palm of your hand. Imagine moving your hand along the sleek fur.

Imagine now a tub of warm water that is big enough to place your feet in. Imagine placing your bare feet into the tub of water. The water is pleasantly hot. Feel the warm water on your feet, all the way up to your ankles.

Think of holding an object in your hands that is very soft... perhaps a sponge. Imagine squeezing the sponge.

Now think of an object that is hard.... like a stone. Imagine holding a hard, smooth, cool stone in your hands.

Think of touching something rough, like the bark of a tree. Imagine moving your hand along the tree bark and feeling the details of the rough surface.

Imagine wrapping up in a heavy blanket. Feel the blanket wrapped tightly around you... providing firm but gentle pressure all over your body. Very comfortable and heavy.


Let's move on to the last sensation now, the sensation of movement.

Imagine lying in a hammock that is gently swaying. Feel the slight movement from left.... to right.... left.... to right..... calming and repetitive movement. ​

Can you imagine the feeling of being on a rollercoaster? Imagine the feeling of accelerating forward, going up an incline.... slowing as you reach the top, going up the last bit, leveling off..... and rushing over the other side, accelerating very fast down, down, down.... reaching the bottom, and rushing up the next hill and around a curve .... fast turns.... feel the movement of a rollercoaster ride.

Now imagine a different movement.... moving your body. Imagine running..... taking great strides as you almost fly along, running quickly, smoothly, and easily..... feel the movement of your muscles, your arms and legs.... feel each step....

Lastly, imagine how it would feel if you were able to fly. Imagine moving through the air, feel the movement as you glide, turn, move up, down.... fly through the sky.

This brief journey through the senses has allowed you to experience sensory relaxation. Now it is time to return to the present.... get back in touch with your environment. Imagine a staircase once again. You are at the bottom of the staircase right now. At the top of the staircase is a state of alertness, awareness, and calm. When you reach the top of the staircase, you will be fully awake and alert, ready to complete your usual daily activities, and maintaining a feeling of calm.

Proceed up the staircase, moving higher, higher, higher.... reaching the middle of the staircase, becoming more and more alert.... nearing the top.... a few more steps... take the last few steps up to the top of the staircase, reaching the top. Take a deep breath.... and exhale.... feeling calm and alert.







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