Difficult moment? Make a mental video!

March 17, 2022 / Topical / Background

Ever since you took part in IkPas, do you prefer to sit at home on the couch and friends start complaining that they haven't seen you in ages? When you're determined to stick with your alcohol break and are afraid of going for the ax on a night out, you may have a tendency to wipe your social calendar empty. A shame, thinks psychotherapist and stress coach Carien Karsten. Because you can train yourself very well in having an alcohol-free and pleasant evening. With help from mental video.

There is a good chance that not drinking alcohol for a while is not that bad for you most of the time. The challenge often lies in resisting a few moments of strong temptation. Usually these 'trigger moments' are linked to activities that you find cozy and relaxed. Such as a dinner with your partner, a party with friends or a night out. However, removing all the fun from your agenda is not the solution. After all, you participate in IkPas to find out what role alcohol plays in your daily life. And you only find out when you live your life as normal. Moreover, you can mentally prepare yourself for a nice evening.

The mental video

Do you soon have a party, dinner or other outing where you normally drink alcohol and are you afraid that you can't resist the temptation? Psychotherapist and stress coach Carien Karsten shares a mental exercise below with which you can prepare yourself optimally for an evening without alcohol and with fun.

The mental video

Close your eyes. Imagine that you are at the location of your night out (i.e. at the theater, at your friends' house, in the restaurant, etc.) Now walk through the entire evening in as much detail as possible. You experience the evening as a kind of movie in your head.

Visualize, for example, the intermission during the performance, see how everyone is standing at a standing table with your friends, or how you are sitting at the table in the restaurant. Watch as everyone around you is standing with a glass of alcohol except you. You are holding a non-alcoholic drink. You see yourself picking up the potion and drinking it. You see the fun around you and just join in.

As the evening unfolds before your eyes, you can feel the tension building up at times when you find it difficult to turn down alcohol. As soon as you feel this tension build up, open your eyes. You take a deep breath and clench your fists. You do this until you feel calm again. Once calm, close your eyes again and continue playing the movie. You do this until you have completed the entire evening. Because you always stop when the tension builds, and only continue when you're relaxed again, you'll find that you've had a good time at the end of the 'evening'.

do this mental video at least once, before going to the actual night out. You will see that after this exercise you are better able to cope with the difficult moments. Moreover, during the real outing, you can fall back on the relaxation you felt while practicing. Did you cringe during the mental video consciously open your fists when relaxing? Then ball them again when you feel tense during the actual evening. You will immediately notice a sense of relaxation. You can be sure that afterwards you will enjoy a pleasant and alcohol-free evening in a more relaxed way. Mission accomplished!

The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it at home on the couch. The power of visualization is not new, by the way. Top athletes, musicians and other professionals also use this to perform better or to overcome fears.

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