Breathing and Visualization Exercises provided by Mass General Cancer Center Oncology Spiritual Care.

Exercise One: Just BREATHE

Relax, lying still and at peace. Begin counting down from 10 to 1, keeping track with your fingers.

10: Easy breath in…And easy breath out

9: Breathing in, I know I am breathing in…Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

8. Breathing in, I know I am breathing in, Breathing out simply letting go.

7. As my in-breath grows deep, My out-breath grows slow.

6. Breathing in light and comfort...Breathing out simply letting go.

5. Breathing in, I calm my body, Breathing out, I feel at ease.

4. Breathing in, I know I am breathing in...Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

3. Breathing in I smile, Breathing out, I release.

2. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment

1. Breathing in, I know I am breathing in…Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Exercise Two: Heartfulness Exercise, Good Things Make Your Heart Fill Up

Hands over your heart, eyes closed resting comfortably

“May I be happy”
Wish this for yourself
Remember a time you were happy
Feel it in your heart

“May I be safe”
Feel it in your heart
Imagine nothing bad can happen to you

“May I be healthy”
Wish this for your self
Totally strong, like a mountain

“May I be peaceful”
Totally relax and melt away
Let your shoulders go down

“May I be”….anything you wish to be
Slowly open up your eyes and open up you hands a little bit and send really good wishes to someone you really like, like sending a text message, a big heart message

“May you be happy”
Imagine a smile on their face
Shooting out happiness from you to them

“May you be safe”
Imagine them in a very safe place, feeling totally safe

“May you be healthy”
Imagine them robust, full of life

May you be peaceful”
Imagine them at peace, lying on a hammock relaxing

Bring out your arms even further and envision the entire world in these next steps.

“May everybody be happy”
“May the hold world be safe”
“May the entire world be healthy”
“May the whole world be peaceful”

Exercise Three: Guided Imagery Visualizations

Visualization is a process in which we use mental images to explore our inner psychic and creative space: we do it every day. We picture tasks that need to be done when we first wake up in the morning. For example, when we realize we have to shop for groceries today, we inadvertently PICTURE which items we need to buy (carrots, milk, a loaf of bread, pet food).

Guided imagery takes this process one step further by GUIDING the images toward a specific life-enhancing goal, such as relaxing, healing, promoting personal growth, clarifying values, stimulating creativity or managing stress.

There are many goals to work towards:

  • Calming (release tension to become more calm/quiet)
  • Centering (letting go of anxiety/tension and returning to harmony)
  • Creativity (transform, release and create new energy/new processes of change)
  • Congruence (self-awareness/self-acceptance, honesty/integrity)
  • Clarity (mental/spiritual)
  • Coping (strategies for coping with stress, tension, emotional pain, illness)
  • Connectedness (reflection on relationships: with other people, nature, and the world)

Begin by placing your body and mind in a state of active relaxation with a simple breathing exercise. Then share a narrative containing images of physical journeys and settings that reflect the inner states and feelings of the goal you have chosen. Be open to the process and match your attitude to your goal: unlocking your mind’s experiences and images begins with a healthy approach to imagery. Since guided imagery is a process of self-exploration, let yourself go with the flow of the narration; it’s most effective when approached with a clear and open mind. And keep in mind two general ideas: the intended outcome of the journey (your chosen goal) and the practical means of achieving that outcome.