This is the creative visualization technique I use before sleep. (I have added some of my garden photos from last year because looking at photos of flowers and nature is relaxing to me.)

First I allow my mind to roam a bit after I turn off the lights, because otherwise thoughts will intrude on my visualization. I get my fidgeting out of my system by breathing deeply.

I allow myself maybe 4-5 minutes.

I suggest that you come up with the most relaxing place you could envision yourself. Then go from there in your mind. I will explain my perfect place fully, and then you can switch mine with yours.

I love water. I love rain. So I envision the same thing I envisioned 20 years ago. 

I am in a house right on the beach. It is night time. There is a thunderstorm. I am on a screened-in porch with the windows open, the curtains swaying in the breeze.

There is a massage table in this darkened room. I lie down on it and there is a woman there to give me a massage. 

Now this is where you learn to relax.

I allow myself to actually hear the noises of the waves lapping up to shore, the thunder and rain pounding down. I can see lightning zig- zagging at the opened windows. I smell the fresh scent of the rain.

It is important to fully smell and hear and feel these things.

The woman begins by massaging my scalp. 

Think being at the beauty shop where they’re washing your hair and how relaxing it is to lie back while someone massages your scalp.

Now as you are “feeling” this, really allow yourself to feel it.

After a few minutes of massaging my scalp, she then works down to my neck. Then shoulders and arms. Then my back and on down to my toes. 

I let this happen slowly, so that I can fully feel each part of my body relax.

I allow the feelings of peace and tranquility to fill my mind while listening to the ocean waves, the rain pounding on the roof, and the thunder in the distance. 

I smell and breathe the rain from the open windows.

After maybe 10 minutes, the woman walks away and I’m lying on this table, fully relaxed. I am focused on my body feeling so light and the smells and sounds that have relaxed me. 

I am fully in the moment.

Once I reach this point in my creative visualization, I realize that I am actually breathing more slowly. My body is so relaxed. 

What I have imagined has brought me to this point of having zero tension left in my body. 

Soon thereafter, I am asleep.

Now, this might not be your idea of the most relaxing place you could be. 

But you need to find that place in your imagination and also have something occur, such as the massage, that takes the tension out of your body. 

Imagine the smells you love to smell, such as the rain for me, and the things you love to hear.

Your imagination is a very powerful tool. If you fully immerse yourself in your thoughts and not think about anything else, it will relax you. Your mind has that power. 

So give it a try and let me know what happened. If it succeeded in relaxing you.


I Googled creative visualization and this is the first site that popped up. I did not read it in its entirety, but I scanned it. 

Their steps are different than mine, in that they focus on one object.

Mine is my own creation, and it works for me.

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  1. Dear Brenda,

    Thanks so much for your post. I know deep breathing really helps me to relax as I get ready for sleeping. I would like to try your technique as a further way to completely relax.

    This is my first time visit … enjoyed my time here.

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend…
    From another Brenda 🙂

  2. Brenda,

    I use the same technique if I just want to relax when I'm feeling tense. Always make me relax no matter what.

    Since I'm horrendously ADHD, if I actually want to get to sleep right away, not just relax, I use another technique that always works like magic for me. If I dont do this, my mind goes on long meandering trips that go on for 1 to 2 hours everynight. Its been that way since I was born and drove my parents right round the bend.

    It sounds rather silly but here goes- I wiggle around until I feel comfortable (pillow perfectly positioned, sheet and duvet lying just so, arms legs and feet comfortable (especially my feet, because of their constant pain, it's best for them to be hanging off the side of the bed) and when everything feels just right, I close my eyes and stare at the blackness behind my eyelids. I really concentrate on it, "it's so black, dark, can't see anything, blackness, darkness,…" and pouf! The next thing I know, it's already morning time.

    Recently, I had surgery on one of my feet again, just 2 weeks ago. I was extremely tired since I had been trying to get a ton of things done at work before going off on sick leave and had been burning the midnight oil at home trying to get things ready for being non-weight-bearing and using crutches for at least 6 weeks. So on surgery day, I was actually looking forward to the good 'sleep' I would have that day. I'd get to 'sleep' at the hospital and then again on my return home. Yahoo! Yes, I really needed and wanted some sleep.

    After surgery, I was wheeled into the recovery room where they promptly started trying to wake me up. But I was still tired and…uncomfortable! Both feet were on the bed but hey, that's NOT how I sleep. So I wiggled around until I got my first foot through the side rail of the bed. Oh! So much better. Of course, a nurse comes frantically running because she doesn't want me doing that. But of course, I get admonished that i shouldnt do that. She moved my foot back in because my explanation didn't fly with her. Of course she leaves and I wanted to sleep so out out goes the foot again. This time my anesthetist is just coming in to check on me and he starts to do the same panic routine because he doesn't like the foot out either. I must be in pain or something. I finally get it across to him with my still dopey slurred speech that I always sleep this way and am both fine AND comfortable. Sweet man. But of course, I really wasn't fully comfortable since I still needed to get the other one off the bed too. So I groggily sit up and try to drag the surgery foot over and start trying to wedge it between the bed rail but this time an anesthetist from another patient comes walking by and runs over to stop me. Apparently, plaster casts don't dry as quickly as fiberglass ones do and squeezing it through the bed rails was not allowed. He also needed an explanation as to what I was doing but once I assured them I woudn't try to put the plaster foot through the rails again, all was okay. Hey, I'm grateful that everyone's first concern was something was wrong with my pain levels or that I was 'agitated' by something. But truthfully, I really was just wanting to sleep and my position in bed was the most important factor to me at that point.

    Thank you for reminding me about visualizations. With my brain, I need reminders. I've already 'captured' the picture of what I believe to be a papyrus plant in one of your water features in your pictures. I can use it next time I need to relax!

  3. I first read about creative visualization in 1978 in the little book by Shakti Gawain. it's wonderful. I practiced it for many years and it got me through some very difficult times.
    and like you I always envision and hear rain and distant thunder.
    only those who live in drought stricken areas could probably understand that love. though I have often lived elsewhere and still have always loved everything about rain ever since i was a child.
    creative visualization works. in many ways.
    this is a beautiful post and a welcomed reminder of it. thanks.

  4. I don't seem to have a problem falling asleep, but I do wake up through the night and not just to have to go to the bathroom which is a common problem as we get older. Not sure what's waking me up. Well, sometimes a cat jumps on me or walks across me. lol! I woke once thinking I heard someone pounding on the door and calling my name. I must have been dreaming. At any rate, it's after those awakenings that going back to sleep is sometimes difficult. I'll have to try the visualization technique!

  5. Don't laugh- I unwind every single night by watching an old Columbo movie until I fall asleep. My timer is programmed so it automatically goes off after I am asleep. Because I know all the stories so well- I don't really have to concentrate and it just kind of lulls me to sleep. lol xo Diana

  6. I've been using one of the free online mindful meditation apps. You are doing the very same thing! Sure relieves stress and puts me in the moment.

  7. I have heard of visualizing techniques, but have never tried them. But I am one of the people who should. I carry a lot of tension and have problems sleeping. Thanks for sharing what works for you. Maybe your method can help me!

  8. Great post Brenda. I pray while I am visualizing Gods hands massaging my tired and tense muscles. That is my happiest place. I'm glad you found your way to fall asleep, you described it very well, easy to understand and follow. I think I may try Francetaste technique of clench and release during the day. It seems my body is always tight. Hope you get your bathroom back together soon!

  9. This is how people get through terrible circumstances like war camps. Setting their minds free. As you say, the mind is powerful.
    My visualization is usually of being so, so sleepy while reading and cuddling with my kid (who is now nearly grown up, but it's my favorite image).
    Another technique is to progressively clench and release muscles in your body, starting with your toes, then your feet, then calves, then toes+feet+calves, etc. until you get to your head (if you're still awake). The act of tensing muscles releases the same kind of endorphins as in a massage (or so they say). And the process of trying to isolate one set of muscles keeps you from thinking about whatever is worrying you; it clears your mind.

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