This relaxation exercise is to deal with squeamishness.
Squeamishness is a feeling of discomfort, disgust, and anxiety. It can occur when faced with particular situations, for example, at the sight of things like blood, or bugs. This guided imagery script will help you to deal with squeamishness. It will help you to relax and then in your mind, face situations where you feel squeamish and cope with feelings that arise. This can help to decrease the anxiety associated with doctor’s visits, helping someone who is injured, cleaning, and other situations or phobias.
To begin, find a comfortable position. You may want to close your eyes, or focus your gaze on one spot in the room.
Notice how you are feeling right now…physically and mentally…just observing without changing anything yet.
Imagine that your hands are very heavy…weighing down your arms…stretching your arms longer…and longer…pulling your shoulders down, away from your ears…lengthening your arms…relaxing into heaviness…
Imagine that your feet are very heavy…imagine the weight of your feet pulling your legs longer…stretching out all the muscles…all the way from your hips…to your knees…to your ankles…
Imagine that your head is very light…so light it is lighter than air…imagine your head floating up like a balloon…stretching your body very tall…lengthening your neck…lengthening your back…feel your entire body stretching out…the muscles lengthening…
Picture all the tension being stretched away…the muscles are becoming long…loose…relaxed…no longer able to hold onto any tightness…giving up all tension…
As you relax…more and more deeply…direct your thoughts to the subject of squeamishness. Let’s begin the process to deal with squeamishness.
When do you tend to feel squeamish? Think about the situations where squeamishness occurs for you.
You may experience squeamishness when you visit the doctor or have medical procedures such as needles.
Maybe you have feelings of squeamishness when you see or think about an object or situation, like blood, bugs, waste, germs, snakes, spiders, frogs…anything that you find disgusting.
Perhaps you tend to be squeamish toward helping an injured loved one, or thinking about injuries or blood or stitches.
Maybe your squeamishness is related to another thought, thing, or situation…the causes of squeamishness are unique to each individual.
Think about the kind of situations where you deal with squeamishness.
Squeamishness can range from slight discomfort, at its mildest, to phobias, at its most severe. Symptoms might be experienced as feelings of nausea, stomach discomfort, gagging, pain, dizziness, racing heart, or other symptoms of anxiety.
Often, to deal with squeamishness, people attempt to avoid the cause of the squeamishness, and this tends to make the anxiety even stronger. The anxiety can be decreased by exposing yourself to situations that cause squeamishness, and becoming more accustomed to them. This is the most effective way to deal with squeamishness. This exposure can be done by using your imagination. Let’s try that right now.
Begin by noticing how you are feeling right now. Notice any symptoms of anxiety you have. Rate your anxiety between zero (no anxiety) and ten (severe panic).
Now think about one situation that you deal with squeamishness in. Imagine the thing that you feel squeamish about. You do not need to imagine yourself interacting with the object or situation yet, just think in general about this one thing that you feel squeamish about.
Notice how you are feeling as you think about this…as you deal with squeamishness. Have the feelings in your body changed in any way? Rate your anxiety again between zero and ten, and take note of whether this number has changed from a few moments ago.
Now create even more details in your mind about this anxiety provoking situation. Create a mental picture of yourself dealing directly with the thing or situation that you feel squeamish about. For example, if you are squeamish about insects, imagine picking one up in your hand. If you are squeamish about needles, imagine receiving an injection. If you are squeamish about blood, imagine bandaging someone else’s cut hand. Imagine one specific thing that you are squeamish about, and see yourself in the situation, dealing with the thing you feel anxious about.
Notice how you are feeling now. How does your body feel? What kind of thoughts are going through your mind as you deal with squeamishness? Rate your anxiety now, between zero and ten.
However you are feeling right now is okay. Simply observe the unpleasant feelings that arise when you think about things you are squeamish about. Experience these feelings for a few moments, without trying to change them yet. Just be with the feelings. Observing each part of your body…noticing how your body reacts to the mental images.
Now I would like you to intensify the experience…imagine again the situation you feel squeamish about. Take this mental image further…actually try to make yourself feel squeamish, anxious, and temporarily uncomfortable. Make the feared scene bigger, more extreme…even scarier…
Imagine more of whatever it is that creates feelings of squeamishness…for example, more blood, more bugs, more needles…make the scene as extreme as possible in your mind. Cause your anxiety to go even higher…can you get your anxiety to increase to a ten? What do you need to imagine to get your anxiety to go to a ten? To keep your anxiety at a ten? Create as much anxiety and as much squeamishness as you possibly can.
Just stay with this discomfort for a few moments, even though it is unpleasant.
Notice how you are feeling now. Are you able to keep your anxiety at a ten?
Notice that you have imagined this frightening thing, and you are okay. You have handled the situation mentally, and nothing dangerous has happened. You are able to handle feelings of squeamishness. These feelings cannot hurt you or prevent you from doing the things you need to do.
Now let’s allow the feelings of squeamishness to decrease. Notice that these feelings decrease on their own…with no effort from you…feel your muscles relaxing…
Feel yourself becoming more relaxed…feeling more calm…
The only thing you are doing right now is allowing…allowing the unpleasant feelings to pass…and allowing the relaxed feelings to take their place…
Whenever you feel squeamish, you can allow this process to occur, simply by surrendering to the feelings you have, whether they are positive or negative. This process of surrendering allows the feelings to pass. It’s okay to have the uncomfortable feelings…as soon as you acknowledge and accept them, these feelings can begin to decrease. You can get through situations that cause squeamishness by facing them, getting used to them, and by not fighting the feelings that arise.
Rate your anxiety now, between zero and ten. Notice your anxiety decreasing…becoming more relaxed and calm…
Now you can simply relax…you do not need to focus on anything at all…allow your mind to be filled with pleasant, relaxing images.
Let yourself experience feelings of pride and accomplishment at getting through the difficult images you were imagining earlier. The next time you do this exercise, the anxiety you experience will probably be a little less than it was this time. Each time you practice getting through a situation that provokes feelings of squeamishness, your confidence and ability to handle the situation will increase. You become even better able to deal with squeamishness…able to readily deal with squeamishness.
You can gradually desensitize yourself…becoming very confident…calmly handling difficult situations…knowing in these situations that uncomfortable feelings will pass and you will soon feel better…
Whatever happened during this exercise was right for you. It is okay to feel anxious…or to feel calm…whatever feelings came up are okay. Each time you do this relaxation exercise will be easier than the last.
Take the next few moments just to relax…allowing your mind to drift…pleasantly relaxed…not needing to think about anything at all…just allowing thoughts to come and go…
Feeling pleasantly relaxed…free from tension…drifting…calm…relaxed.
Now you have completed the relaxation exercise. Allow your body and mind to reawaken…returning to full alertness and awareness…
Stretch if you want to, allowing your body to wake up.
Open your eyes and sit quietly for a moment, becoming re-oriented to your surroundings.
When you are completely awake and alert, you can resume your usual activities, keeping with you feelings of calm and confidence.