By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Imagine You’re on a Beach: Visualization


Let’s do a visualization exercise: Imagine you are on a beach, relaxing in a chez lounge. The sun is shining in a bright blue sky, warming your body from top to toes. You adjust the umbrella to keep the glare off of the pages of the book you’ve been enjoying. Without a care in the world, you reach for the ice cold glass of lemonade that’s sitting next to you on a small table. The sweet, tart drink refreshes you from the inside out. You can hear the ocean crashing against the rocks in the distance. Closer, you hear the lapping of the water as it combs the sand clean with each wave. The seagulls seem to whistle to one another as they swoop and dance in the sky above as you continue to enjoy this paradise.

Most of the time, we can think of someplace we would rather be. It might be a cabin in the woods or a mountain resort. Maybe you would like to be sitting on the sidelines at the Superbowl. If you can imagine the place and/or time with visualization, you can mentally transport yourself there for a mini-vacation.

Visualization takes some practice.

The more you practice visualization the easier it gets. In the beginning, it helps to try it in a quiet place where you feel safe. You should close your eyes so that you aren’t disrupted by the things you see in the room around you. A sleep mask can put you in total darkness which helps a lot.

It’s best to imagine a place you’ve been to. This will help you recall important details that can make this visualization come to life. If you really struggle with this, add some sensory aids. Sitting near a heater can help you imagine the sun’s warm rays. Have some real lemonade next to you and take a sip. There are wonderful apps that have background sounds of the ocean. Play them softly as you close your eyes and let the stress slip away.

There’s nothing cute about stress

For me, visualization is one of the best ways to combat acute stress. This is stress that hits you hard and fast. You might have just gotten some bad news or maybe someone ran into your car with theirs. But it takes practice for visualization to be effective in these situations. This practice helps to change your automatic response to difficult situations.

After practice, you won’t need any sensory aids to help you go to a happy place via visualization. Instead, when something bad happens:

  • (If it’s safe) close your eyes.
  • Take a deep, slow breath.
  • Imagine something comforting.
  • Remind yourself that this will be over soon and that you will work things out.
  • Open your eyes and deal with acute stress (whatever immediately needs to be taken care of).
  • Then, take care of yourself.

A to Z Blogging ChallengeThe A to Z Blogging Challenge

Once again I will be doing double duty in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be sharing ways to avoid burnout, here at Facing Cancer with Grace.  At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways of thinking creatively, using Brainsparker’s Kickstart Course of A to Z prompts. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites.

What do you imagine in a visualization exercise?

What Are Your Thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

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In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on

Also, check out Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer.

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I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker


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3 comments on “Imagine You’re on a Beach: Visualization

My visualizations always include the beach..

I recently found your A to Z comments, and then read your disclosure about the delays you may have due to your husband’s situation.

Recently, I used tonglen meditation ( to help when someone I loved was dealing with high pain levels. It may be helpful for you, if you see this while you are going through your process. I believed it helped with the pain, but it also provided me with a sense of being able to do something, instead of helplessly watching.

My heart to you…


Thank you, Beth. I have never heard of Tonglen before. My husband actually died on April 26th. Thankfully, he had no pain. Hospice was able to keep his pain under control while still allowing him to be active and clear-minded up until his last day. I’m also grateful that I never felt helpless. That’s probably because of the way the hospice team empowered me with tools to help him (including visualization) and the appreciation my husband showed during that time. Having an active role in his care extended to other family members, as well. Every person is endowed with gifts that are useful in times like this. It was wonderful to see how our children helped him and me before and after his death.

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