Detatchment and Mental Imagery

The ability to relax is important for sailors prone to high levels of anxiety, and mental imagery is a simple way of achieving this.

What the Experts Say

Jon Emmett - Be Your Own Sailing Coach

'Sounds, smells, colours, tastes and textures will all help make the experience become more believable'

Videos for Detatchment and Mental Imagery

There are a number of videos for relaxation through mental imagery on YouTube, but we couldn't find anything specific for sailors.

Books with information on Detatchment and Mental Imagery

Jon Emmett - Be Your Own Sailing Coach, page 219

Websites and online articles for Detatchment and Mental Imagery

This is an article on using mental imagery as a method of relaxation for sport

This article talks about (among other things) the importance of Visualisation

What We Learned...

The ability to relax is an important skill for sailors that are prone to high levels of anxiety or excitement. It can be useful on the day to calm excessive nerves, or at night time to aid sleep.

Generally speaking, these are the steps to use to engage in mental imagery and detachment as a method of relaxation.

  • Find a quiet place, preferably (but not necessarily) a warm room free from interruptions. If it is possible, then put on relaxing music. You can tell yourself that you can be awoken at any time and come back to full alertness immediately should it be necessary.
  • Close your eyes and control your breathing. use "centring" style breathing, where you breathe deeply and steadily in to your stomach, and then slowly and deliberately back out. Calm breathing will help calm the mind also.
  • Gently relax all the muscles in your body, one by one, until the whole body feels less tense. Some people like to imagine their limbs feeling heavy, others warm - choose whichever seems to work best for you.
  • Now slowly relax your mind. Imagine yourself walking down a beautiful staircase of ten steps, arriving at each step on the end of an exhale of breath, and counting yourself down from ten to one.
  • As you step off the final stair imagine yourself either somewhere beautiful and relaxing (a beach, a meadow, etc.) or somewhere you feel or felt safe - maybe a favourite spot from your childhood. Really enjoy the feeling of being in this place, trying to imagine all the sounds, smells, textures.
  • To come back to full awareness count up from one to ten, opening your eyes on eight and awakening fully on the count of ten. Be sure to consciously think about how good you feel.

This is very much just a guide, and it can often be easiest if you can get a recording of a relaxation recording which will guide you through the process.


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