Guided imagery is a safe and gentle technique that focuses and directs the imagination. Research has shown that guided imagery has a positive impact on health, creativity, and performance. Imagery involves all the senses and is very easy to learn.
There is evidence that indicates that the same parts of the brain are stimulated whether a person imagines something or actually experiences it. Our bodies then react to the images as if they are real experiences. In other words, the body doesn’t always know the difference between something we imagine and something that really happens.
There are a wide variety of benefits from using guided imagery. It can be used to enhance sports performance, boost the function of the immune system, or simply promote relaxation. Even 10 minutes of imagery can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce blood loss during surgery, and lessen pain. We also know that imagery can help increase skill in sports, acting, and public speaking.
Here are some practical tips to help you get the most out of guided imagery:
- Practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the more skill you’ll develop in using guided imagery.
- Stay relaxed and comfortable. Try not to get too caught up in “doing it right.”
- Use all of your senses to make the images as vivid as possible.
- Music can facilitate your practice. Choose music that is soothing to you.
- Don’t worry if your mind wanders during the imagery… that is natural and you still benefit from the imagery.
- Imagery combined with therapeutic massage or energy work can be very powerful.