So the guided imagery could go something like this.
I’m taking Spanish 101, I took a little Spanish in high school, but within the first two weeks I’m starting to feel a little lost. Everything is moving so fast. I don’t do great on the first test and I start to panic, this is really hard I think. But then I remind myself, I can do hard things. I haven’t learned this yet, but If I put the work in and reach out to resources, I can learn Spanish. I can learn new skills to help me. So first I’m going to call my parents and see if they have any suggestions for me. They recommend that I talk with the professor. I get online and find the professor’s office hours and set up a time to meet with her. At that meeting the professor reassures me that I can learn this, she tells me about a study group that gets together to learn Spanish, and she also sets up a meeting with the TA. I start going to the study group and realize that the other students are using flash cards to memorize nouns and they’ve got a little song to help with conjugations. That’s a new study skill for me, I can learn new ways to learn. Because I’m studying a little smarter, I do better on the next test but not as well as I’d like. I meet with the TA and the TA explains to me a system for conjugation that’s helpful. I am willing to work hard. We go over the syllabus together. I make a plan for how I’m going to get all my work done. I realize that I have to study 3-4 hours a week to pass this class, I decide to drop one social activity and cut back on work hours so that I have enough time in my schedule to study, but also to take breaks when needed. I will work hard, if I continue to struggle I know who to talk with, and I plan to go to the university learning center and to my academic advisor if needed. But as I put in the study hours and work hard, I start doing better and better on each quiz. I feel more and more confident as the semester goes on. I’ve learned a system for studying and I’ve learned how to do hard things. I pass my Spanish class, and my other classes. I may not have had a perfect grade, but that’s ok, I feel proud of my accomplishment, but even more of my hard work and efforts.
Notice how this guided imagery didn’t just say “I start taking Spanish class and everything’s easy. I’m so smart. And the teacher likes me so she just gives me good grades and then I pass” this imagery is about his locus of control- the areas of his life that he can control- who he talks to, his growth mindset, how hard he’s willing to work, choosing to be careful at scheduling, etc.
When you practice the skill of choosing which thoughts you’re going to dwell on, you really can retrain your brain to worry less and to take helpful action.