The mind is a playground full of beauty and potential for creation and self-love. Regardless of age, the imagination can help women’s wellness. It’s as lush or stable as we need, cultivating the ideal environment for peace or motivation.
Unlock the inner child. Or, continue exploring it using these tools and thought exercises for self-reflection, self-compassion, and — honestly — pure joy in a stressful world.
1. The Iris Map
The Iris Map is an imagination exercise that requires women to visualize every aspect of their inner world through colors. It’s not named after the eye, but instead the goddess of the rainbow — empowering women to explore life through their senses.
Each color of the Iris Map represents a different space or feeling in life. To start this exercise, consume art — music, paintings and more — and notice what colors the mind generates in response or how you react to the colors you see. The colors and what they represent include:
- Black = exploration
- Blue = equanimity
- Pink = positive
- Red = energy
- Green = the present
- Purple = universality
- Gold = power
Use the imagination to explore them. Is black sticking out because you’re craving a sense of mystery? Do you notice a lack of green that could signify your body craves nature? Maybe exposure to deep reds will incite motivation or willpower. The imagination will guide these intangible ideas, providing a space for emotional exploration and self-evaluation.
2. Guided Imagery
Imaginations can run wild. Sometimes they feel within our control, and sometimes they operate independently, leading thinkers to never-before-seen — and occasionally unwelcome — environments. Guided imagery attempts to direct people to a relaxed state using suggestions and leveraging how the body and mind feed off each other. Almost like meditation, it can:
- Steady breathing
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Optimize sensory processing
- Improve sleep
- Strengthen coping mechanisms
Thinkers could use this as a grounding tool during high anxiety points or to refocus if they find themselves lost in thought. An example of guided imagery would be to pick an object with numerous sensory responses, like food. You can ask yourself how the item feels in your hands and mouth and how it tastes and smells.
This practice forces imaginers to focus on that guided image wholly without distraction. Creating tangibility alongside nebulous feelings of unease helps improve overall wellness.
One way to tap into your imagination is to take the cliftonstrengths test . This type of assessment will help you identify your top five strengths, which are the things you do best and enjoy doing. Once you know your strengths, you can use them to create a more fulfilling and satisfying life
Not every mindfulness practice is a complex, heavily researched insight into the mind. Sometimes, a gripping narrative is all you need to practice some women’s wellness. Stories could be the most gripping way to set the imagination on fire, explore vast landscapes, or interact with passionate individuals. You can perceive yourself as the main character or even the narrator — a viewer of the tale with no influence.
The way you imagine yourself or others in a story elicits reactions. How would you respond to this conflict? What would you say in this plot-pivoting conversation? The little details could reveal so much about the explorer’s mental state and ability to control their reactions.
It’s powerful for understanding internal motivations or hidden aspirations that may have been locked inside for years, hindering your progress in life.
4. Hang Out With Yourself
Look up a photo of a place you’ve always wanted to go or somewhere unfamiliar. It could be a bustling city or a barren wasteland — wherever the heart says to go, go there and exist with yourself. Are you in a playground playing cooperatively with yourself or taking a more solitary hike in the mountains? The setting could mean a lot or nothing, but the most important thing is you’re comfortable and attentive to the other you in the situation.
The reason this imagination exercise is so impactful is that you can have honest conversations with yourself with the most honesty and empathy. You can eliminate shame or fear of judgment. You could talk to yourself to execute a variety of emotional and mental tasks, such as:
- Realizing your true goals.
- Rationalizing an anxious thought or interaction.
- Experiencing healthy escapism with comfortable company.
- Engaging in hypotheticals.
- Improving your problem-solving skills.
- Strengthening your communication abilities.
- Increasing empathy and compassion for yourself.
- Putting your thoughts on trial by having controlled debates.
5. Cognitive Defusion
Use your imagination to reclaim control of your mind — that’s what cognitive defusion, or deliteralization, can do. It assists in reminding thinkers they have control of the way their thoughts move and how they react to them. Though the mind and body are connected, they are separate. You have the chance to treat it as such.
You can brush off thoughts or engage with them, but it requires practice, like exercise, to gain true resilience. Usually, people give in and trust their thoughts without question, known as cognitive fusion. Cognitive defusion asks women to challenge these assumptions with these questions:
- Notice a negative thought, feeling or self-talk, such as “I am a failure.”
- Vocalize it to let it out of the mind.
- Acknowledge it as a thought and not as an identity marker by switching it to “I notice I have the thought I am a failure.”
- Ponder how these changes protect identity and foster self-compassion.
Using imagination empowers the value of this exercise because the mind could imagine a visible separation between these views. Close your eyes and see yourself as two separate people — one who identifies with these negative thoughts and knows they are just fleeting moments.
Women’s Wellness Starts With Imagination
The imagination is a beautiful place to explore feelings and emotional responses. It can help recenter the mind, calm it in a state of panic or realize more about your desires and life goals. Imagination will not stand alone as the only tool in a mental wellness and self-development journey, but it has incomparable value for how kind it is to the mind and body.