Ever been sitting in class and felt so antsy you wished you could just go for a good run? Or at a family reunion, business meeting, an endless overseas flight? When your body aches to move, or your mind is cries for that unmatchable release of an intense swim, run, mountain-climb, skip rope, weight lifting session, or whatever your favorite activity is… but you’re stuck.
Well, you may be stuck physically, but you are not stuck mentally. You can imagine yourself engaging in that beloved activity, and actually feel the release that the physical activity brings you. Research shows that mindfully going through the motions, entirely in your minds’ eye, reaps similar neurological and physiological benefits to the real activity itself.
So how do you do it?
Close your eyes, if that feels comfortable to you. If you prefer, you can simply let your gaze rest on some spot on the floor or table in front of you.
Then, in your mind, give your body what it is asking for. Imagine yourself running, swimming, or cycling. As you move in your imagination, notice the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations you experience. What is the temperature? What do you feel against your skin, or your hair? Are their distinct colors, or smells? Which muscles are working hard? How is your heartbeat? Do you notice how your breath enters, and then leaves, your body? Take yourself through it from beginning to end.
When you’re through, in your mind, allow yourself to slow down, perhaps stretch, perhaps catch your breath.
When it feels right to you, open or lift your eyes back your surroundings, and carry on with the your next right step.
In 60 seconds or less, you can do a full workout to relax your mind, re-center your thoughts, and re-enter life feeling calmer and more whole.