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Guided visual imagery relaxation technique: the beach

Patient information A-Z

You’re walking along a very beautiful, expansive beach. It looks almost deserted and stretches off into the distance as far as you can see. The sand is very fine and light, almost white in appearance. You step onto the sand in your bare feet and rub it between your toes. It feels so good to walk slowly along this beautiful beach. The roaring sound of the surf is so soothing that you can just let go of anything on your mind. You are watching the waves ebb and flow, in and out, they are slowly coming in, breaking over each other, and then slowly flowing back out again.

The ocean itself is a very beautiful shade of blue, a shade of blue that is so relaxing just to look at. You look out over the surface of the ocean, all the way to the horizon, and then follow the curvature of the earth. As you scan the ocean, you can see, many miles offshore, a tiny sailboat skimming along the surface of the water. And all these sights just help you to just let go and relax even more.

As you continue walking down the beach, you become aware of the fresh salty smell of the sea air. You take in a deep breath, breathe out, and feel very refreshed and even more relaxed. Overhead, you notice two seagulls flying out to sea, looking very graceful as they soar in the wind, and you imagine how you might feel if you had the freedom to fly. You find yourself settling into a deep state of relaxation as you continue walking down the beach. You feel the sea breeze blowing gently against your cheek and the warmth of the sun overhead penetrating your neck, back and shoulders. The warm, liquid sensation of the sun just relaxes you even more, and you are beginning to feel perfectly content on this beautiful beach.

It’s such a lovely day. In a moment up ahead, you see a comfortable looking beach chair. Slowly, you begin to approach the beach chair, and when you finally reach it, you sit back and settle in. Laying back in this comfortable beach chair, you let go and relax even more, drifting even deeper into relaxation. In a little while, you might close your eyes and just listen to the sound of the surf, the unending cycle of waves ebbing and flowing. And the rhythmic sound of the surf carries you even deeper, deeper still, in a wonderful state of quietness and peace.

And now, feeling very peaceful and relaxed, you slowly stand up from the comfortable beach chair and step onto the warm sand, and slowly begin walking back along the beach. As you walk, you remember how refreshing and relaxing it has been on the beach. You know that you can come back to this place any time you like. You start to gradually bring yourself back into the room, and when you are ready, you can open your eyes.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
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Hills Road, Cambridge

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