Our mind and body are connected, so imagining something can ‘trick’ your body into thinking you are actually experiencing it. That is the power behind guided imagery, which is often used for relaxation and emotional healing. Here are some things to help you understand guided imagery and how to do it.
Guided imagery can help you manage stress and relieve pain. Some people also use it to treat asthma, allergies, impotence, and cancer—in conjunction with traditional medical routines of course. While there is no ‘scientific proof’ of the efficacy of guided imagery, we know from experience how powerful a memory or thought can be. A whiff of a perfume that an ex used to wear can evoke memories and very physical reactions like the clenching in the chest. Or, just thinking about food can literally make our mouth water and make us feel, suddenly, hungry.
Use as many senses as possible
It’s not enough to say, over and over to yourself, that you are on a beach. Use all your senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. For example, imagine the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of the oean waves, the smell of sunblock, the sweetness of the drink in your hand.
So imagery does work, but how do we make it work to our benefit? We can use negative imagery, like worry, or positive imagery, such as those used by motivational speakers, sports coaches or even the most successful people in the world who boost their confidence by rehearsing their success over and over in their minds. This is not just positive thinking. Golfers often create a mental map of the fairway and ‘practice’ making the shot, and visualize his posture.
The secret to powerful and efficient guided imagery is in making it personal, positive, visual, emotional, and in the present tense. For example, if you want to be more organized, you can say, ‘It is satisfying when I can find the things i need right away.’ Imagine the way your house looks, reaching over to open a cabinet, looking at the neatly organized things. See the color-coded boxes and the smell of lavender sachets.
Photo from healthyfellow.com