Creative meditation is a natural therapy that uses imagination. As it's easy to learn, it can be a self-help aid, although you could visit a therapist or buy ready-made audios if you preferred. Sometimes it's called creative visualization or imagery too. You can do it any place where people will not interrupt you. You don't need special equipment, just the will to relax and be imaginative. Here's how to use it to reduce anxiety.

Relax your body

The process works best if you get rid of physical tightness, so lie or sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Scan your body to recognize how it feels.

Are there tense areas? You need not do anything about them, just note them in your mind and take deep, slow breaths. Aches and pains caused by stress will ease as the slow pace of breathing helps you unwind.

Let thoughts pass as though they are blown away by the breeze and return your attention to your breath.

Create impressions

When your body grows heavy with relaxation, picture a pleasing place you would like to visit. It might be a sandy beach, waterfall, forest, or somewhere else you appreciate. The place need not exist in the outside world though. Design it exactly as you wish.

If you can't see pictures well in your mind, get a sense of the place using taste, sound, scents, and touch. Imagine what touching the surfaces of objects is like and the air and temperature on your skin.

Hear the sounds you want to bring into the meditation. If you're on a beach, for instance, you might hear waves lapping on the shore. You may also smell and taste the salty air and feel sea spray on your skin.

Immerse yourself in the meditation

Don't just picture yourself in your chosen place; be there. Use multiple senses. Look down at your hands, body, and feet rather than picturing yourself from a distance if you can. As you relax more, allow a smile to form on your lips and breathe in the peaceful atmosphere of your special place.

Add more features

How much detail you include is up to you. You could make the meditation simple or add people, animals, and experiences as you see fit. You might want to imagine you meet your spirit guide who answers your questions with wisdom. Or you may picture dolphins, unicorns, or other magical creatures to share your journey.

You could even create a great healer who performs a mystical ceremony to evoke tranquillity. Or you might picture yourself burying the seed of courage and watch it grow into a strong plant.

Return to the present

When you're ready to end the meditation, slowly return your attention to the present. Feel the surface of whatever you're sat or lying on beneath you and wiggle your toes and fingers. Open your eyes and take a few moments to become alert before doing anything else.

When anxiety rises, don't listen to your fears and think about problems. Such actions make pressure grow. Use creative meditation to change your mindset and bring about peace and calm.