Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. You can use an instructor, tapes, or scripts to help you through this process. Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real. An example often used is to imagine an orange or a lemon in great detail—the smell, the color, the texture of the peel. Continue to imagine the smell of the lemon, and then see yourself taking a bite of the lemon and feel the juice squirting into your mouth. Many people salivate when they do this. This exercise demonstrates how your body can respond to what you are imagining.
Research shows that what we visualize in our minds is often what we create in our bodies. The power of visualization has been used to treat a variety of physical and emotional conditions. Likewise, meditation has been used for its mental and physical benefits.Both meditation and visualization begin with relaxation and clearing the mind of distractions to produce what might be called a trance state. With meditation it appears that the depth of relaxation and the elimination of worries are related to the effectiveness of the technique. With visualization the intensity of the images in the mind appears to increase their effectiveness. Each of these techniques is a method of spiritual cleansing that you should do on a regular basis, particularly when you feel a build-up of negativity. It is a way to reset your spirit and live your life from a state of openness.
Uses for Guided Imagery
- to promote relaxation, which can lower blood pressure and reduce other problems related to stress, like headache.
- to help reach goals (such as losing weight or quitting smoking), manage pain, and promote healing.
- to prepare for an athletic event or for public speaking.
- for those preparing for or recovering from surgical procedures or coping with the effects of chemotherapy.
- See... Imagine a beautiful waterfall. What does it look like? Is it in a lush tropical setting or a sparking icy area? What is around the waterfall? Watch the waters flow intensify.
- Smell... Smell the plants, trees, or flowers surrounding the waterfall. What does the waterfall itself smell like? Can you smell the ater?
- Hear... Become attuned to all the sounds at the waterfall. Listen to the rush of the pounding water. Are there birds making noises nearby? Can you hear other animals? Or is very quiet?
- Feel... Scoop up some water in your hands. Feel the temperature of the water against your skin.
- Taste... Sip from the water. What does it taste like? Is it refreshing?
- Now visualize yourself walking closer to the waterfall until you are standing right beneath it. Feel the water pour over you, removing any negative energy from your skin. Watch the negative thoughts and feelings slide away from your body, leaving only pure clear energy.