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Guided Imagery Scripts for Stress

Blake has worked in the mental health field since 2002 educating and inspiring hope on the journey toward recovery.


What is Guided Imagery?

Guided imagery is a way to escape away from worries, stress, and tension. Imagination is a powerful tool to travel to a place of peace any time you want. Although imagery can be done independently, guided imagery has the benefit of helping people along their trip to serenity.

With guided imagery, a script is usually used to a listener on a trip down a path, through the woods, or to the beach. These locations work well because of the good memories and feelings most people have toward nature. Nature doesn't have to be used as you'll see in the example of a trip to a coffee shop, but if you're looking for a beach script, you'll find that here too.

A Trip to the Beach Script

Many people can relate to the relaxing qualities of a beach. Perhaps this is because people go on vacation to beach destinations, or maybe it's because beaches offer a combination of natural elements meeting together in a beautiful way. This guided imagery script encourages the soaking up of nature.

As with any guided imagery session, it's best if the participant takes some slow deep breaths before beginning. Find a comfortable place, away from distractions, and shut your eyes.

You are on a white sandy beach. It's very warm, but you can feel a cool breeze. You are barefoot and feel the soft sand squish beneath your feet as you walk. The sand gets in between your toes. You walk toward the ocean and the sound of the surf gets louder. You can hear faint giggles and talking from some people playing volleyball.

As you approach the water, the wet sand is darker in color. When you step on it, you can feel that it is harder than the dry sand. You keep walking until your feel are close to the water. You stop and wait for the water to come to you.

It's clear water, but the edge of the wave is cloudy as it crashes and seeps up to your feet. You feel little bits of shells and sand swirl around your feet. Your feet sink about two inches down as the water rushes up and back down. There's a slight incline where the water meets the beach.

You decide to keep your feel planted firmly and let wave after wave swirl around your feet until most of your feet are hidden beneath the wet sand. You twist a bit to look down the beach.

It's a clear day. The shape of the beach is a squiggly line that fades to infinity. You slowly move your gaze back toward your feet, and you spot a pretty shell. It's white, but it has some streaks of your favorite color. You pick it up and admire it for a moment before throwing it back out into the surf.

You decide that it's time to leave the beach, so you walk back toward the dry sand and locate the spot where you entered the beach. You see some open showers on a wooden deck, so you walk that direction. This time, the sand is sticking to your feet. You can feel sand underneath your toenails, and it looks like you are wearing a thin sock made of sand.

When you get to the shower, you notice a knob. Turning the knob starts the cool fresh water flowing in small droplets. You move your feet around in order to rinse off the sand from all angles.

Once you have your feet rinsed off, you leave this relaxing beach. You know that you can return to the beach anytime you feel tense and you need to experience nature. You make plans to visit soon and explore all that this place has to offer by using your senses and your imagination.

Beach Sounds and Video

Even a coffee shop can be the subject of a guided imagery session.

Even a coffee shop can be the subject of a guided imagery session.

A Trip to a Coffee Shop Script

Introduction: This guided imagery script is a trip to the coffee shop. Coffee shops are a great place to relax and enjoy a warm or cold drink. Take a momentary escape from worries and stress while listening to this guided imagery trip. Imagine all the sights, smells, sounds, feelings, and tastes available in a coffee shop.

Find a calm place as free from distractions as possible. Silence your phone or turn off other technology that may make noise. Get into a comfortable position in a chair or lying down. Take a few slow deep breaths. Make sure your stomach rises and falls with each breath. If you feel muscle tension, flex that muscle for three seconds and then relax it. Feel the difference between tense and relaxed. Close your eyes and listen.

Walking down a city sidewalk you notice shadows are getting long. The sun is low on the horizon as the evening wears on and the street is mostly shaded. A coffee shop is 20 feet ahead, and the familiar green logo is visible as you approach. As you open the door, the aroma of fresh roasted and brewed coffee enters your nostrils. Just a few more steps to the counter, and you'll be ready to order a delicious drink.

You scan the shop as you walk toward the counter and notice the warm, ambient lighting. People are sitting in chairs at a table. Some have computers and others are just talking. You hear the coffee grinder buzzing. Someone is giggling. Enthusiastic voices are just soft enough to be incomprehensible.

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As you step to the the counter, you notice a display case full of pastries. You see some cds on display next to the register, so you pick one up to look at it when you hear a voice. "Hi, what can I get you?" You tell the barista you order. She pulls out a cup and makes a mark on it with a marker. Then she gives you the total. You reach in your pocket and pull out a soft, worn, ten dollar bill and hand it over. Then she hands you change and says your order will be ready soon.

You look around the room once again, noticing art pieces hanging on the wall. You see a display with merchandise. You hear the door open as other people come in. Then before you know it, you hear your order called. You grab the warm cup off of the counter and look for a place to sit. Over by the window, you see a comfortable couch. You walk over and sit down, waiting until you are sitting to take a drink. As you put the cup to your lips, you can feel a slight amount of steam rise to your nose. Realizing that the drink is hot, you decide to take a sip. Even though you only get a small amount, your tongue feels warm. You can feel the hot liquid slowly travel down your esophagus.

After drinking several small gulps, you decide to get up and leave the coffee shop. As you exit the door you hear the sounds of the shop fade and the sounds of the city traffic grow. You walk back in the direction from which you came, taking a sip of your drink every few steps.

This is the end of the trip to the coffee shop. When you are ready, you can open your eyes and become aware of your current surroundings. Remember your trip to the coffee shop, and visit any time you'd like. Order something different next time you go. Stay on the couch as long as you'd like. Make your trip your own by using your own imagination, noticing all the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and tastes.

Benefits of Using Imagery

The mental vacation that guided imagery provides serves as a distraction from stress. Because of the decrease in stress, guided imagery affects the body in positive ways.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, guided imagery can help with a variety of difficulties. Besides stress, these include improvements in depression, pain, trouble sleeping, nausea, high blood pressure, and respiratory difficulties.

HowStuffWorks references research studies showing these physical improvements in functioning also including immune function and sports performance. The mind-body connection is strong. "(Guided imagery) should be commonplace among healing centers, and patients should be aware of its potential."

Suggestions for Getting the Most out of Imagery

Sometimes it may be difficult to begin using imagery, or you may not know how to fully access your imagination. Use these tips for a better imagery experience.

  • Use a picture to get you started. Since visual ques are powerful, look at a picture for a while before letting your imagination fill in the rest.
  • Don't forget or neglect your other senses. Listening to sounds from a recording of the beach may actually work better, or you could smell a seashell that you brought back from the beach.
  • Sometimes it is helpful to personify your stress. Imaging your stress as an annoying bird that keeps making noise. Then you can imagine shooing the bird off and watching it fly out of sight.
  • Practice imagery some when you are already relaxed. This allows for you to associate your imagery with a relaxed state. You might also feel more rewarded increasing the likelihood that you'll try it again.
  • Ask others about what they imagine for their calm place and try to outdo them with something even more serene and calm.
  • Practice guiding others through your imagery experience. If you can teach others to do it, you'll continue to improve with experience. Also, you may get ideas from others about details you wouldn't have thought to include.

More Resources for Relaxation

  • Guided Imagery Forest Path Script
    Using a guided imagery script like this one is a great way to help distract the mind from stressful thoughts. Natural environments are naturally calming, and you can visit any time you'd like.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script
    Progressive muscle relaxation teaches participants to notice tension in their bodies by tensing and releasing muscles in a particular order. This is a progressive muscle relaxation script example.


Blake Flannery (author) from United States on May 30, 2014:


To me if feels like glorified daydreaming. And daydreaming is something kids probably do regularly without much effort. Needing a guide to get you started can be a temporary learning process, and you could eventually do this independently.

Having an active imagination can be a great strength, but us adults need reminded of that every once in a while.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on May 30, 2014:

Very cool and fresh concept. Got it.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on May 30, 2014:

I have used this technique for a number of situations, and found it to be very helpful, whether trying to relax and go to sleep, or to escape from a difficult problem that is causing stress. It allows a temporary escape from the situation at hand, and enables me to come back with a new perspective.

Blake Flannery (author) from United States on May 30, 2014:


Thanks for the comment. As I sat down to write this, I wanted to provide something different than anything else out there. The beach is a mainstay guided imagery location. That's why I wrote a coffee shop imagery script. Generally speaking, I think coffee shops are pretty relaxing, and I'm not aware of any scripts out there for a trip to the coffee shop.

If you use imagery for more common places like coffee shops, you may also learn to be more mindful as you go about your day. Focus on the present moment with all your senses!

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on May 30, 2014:

Very informative and helpful tutorial on how to use guided imagery. I've been using it for years as part of a relaxation technique with clients who are stressed and anxious. It really works instantly. I not only guide them through it but I participate as well. So I benefit as I help them. Excellent article, although I don't get the coffee shop guided imagery, lol. Will re-read :) voted up and useful.

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