Who wants to go on holiday?!
I know, I know, we can’t physically go anywhere right now, but what if I told you that you could go anywhere you wanted while staying at home? Stay with me!
It’s been really sunny and blindingly hot in the U.K. the last few days; it’s beautiful. Sitting out in the garden makes me feel like I’m on holiday — which is funny because I don’t usually get on well with heat. It often makes me go weak, and my brain gets all foggy. Strangely though, this year it doesn’t seem to have that effect. Why? I have no idea. Maybe I’m more stubborn this year and pushing through it without realizing. Strange how symptoms fluctuate, isn’t it? That’s something people don’t understand about MS.
Today, however, my holiday bubble burst, and we’re back to being cold, gray, and wet. Boo.
I decided I wanted to hang on to the sunshine. I’m aware that what I’m about to say will sound weird, but I’m willing to embrace it if you are.
I put on some suncream, blasted some Cuban music on Spotify through my headphones, and laid down under a lamp with my eyes closed. I visualized being on a beach in Spain, and it brought back memories of spicy chicken, Mediterranean salad, and cocktails. It was the most fantastic 30 minutes I’ve had since being stuck at home — why didn’t I think of this before? I highly recommend trying it out, even if just for novelty value! Yes, I do sound pretty crazy when I read that back.
This technique is called visualization. I use this technique a lot to help me manage anxiety. Usually, I visualize a situation I’m feeling anxious about — a great example being my wedding day. I was SO nervous to walk down the aisle. It was the only time I’d ever be in a room of people who are all silently staring at me. Freaky! Thoughts raced through my head.
“What if I throw up? What if I fall over? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if? What if?” I would say to whoever would listen. Then, I discovered visualization, and here’s how it helped.
In the evening, I ran a calming bath and had some quiet time. I would lie there, focusing on our wedding day. Centered on what it would be like, imagining standing at the back of the room, the band playing music at the front. Both our families on either side of the space where I’d soon walk.
Our song starts playing (“I Can Go the Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules”) and I glance ahead at my soon-to-be husband whose beaming smile comforts me.
I take a deep breath, grip my taller-than-me-but-technically-little brother’s arm, and we start to walk. As we walk, people turn their heads. I focus straight ahead.
I start to imagine the smell of the hotel’s restaurant in the next room. I imagine a relative noisily digging out a camera and someone coughing on the other side of the room.
It felt incredibly real. I must have visualized it at least 20 times leading up to the big day.
When the time came to do it for real, I wasn’t nervous at all because it felt like I’d done it so many times already.
I also figured out that feeling nervous causes the same reactions in the body as feeling excited, so the next time you’re worried, try telling yourself you’re excited instead. It’ll feel a lot easier.
The next time you are nervous (or “excited”) about an event, try and visualize how you want it to go. Visualize the ideal scenario and see what happens. It’s a useful anxiety management technique.
If you are feeling glum right now, give the holiday thing a try, even if just for laughs and something to do.
Find more anxiety techniques here.
Let me know your thoughts on visualization in the comments.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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