Relaxation Techniques Guided Imagery

“The soul never thinks without a picture.”
-Aristotle

Imagery provides a way to communicate with your subconscious mind. When you “see” an image in your mind it is a collaboration between your conscious and subconscious. The image you see will always be different from what others see because it is formed from your own memories and experiences. Imagery is like a personalized, guided dream with emotions.

Using Guided Imagery

We are all capable of using imagery, but like other skills, it must be practiced. Imagery is not just visualization-it involves other senses (taste, smell, hearing and touch) as well. To sharpen your imagery skills, follow the directions for meditation. Then envision things that are familiar to you every day to see how they change.

There are two main ways to use imagery:

  1. Visualize the steps of the process necessary to achieve your goal.
  2. Visualize the goal as having already been achieved.

Imagery is not just “daydreaming.” It is much more important than most people realize. You can communicate with your entire body using imagery. With your conscious mind, you can send a sort of message to your subconscious in the form of a visual image. Your subconscious responds with “imagery,” and helps to shape what you see, much like a dream.

Before you start visualizing your goal, follow these steps to relax:

  1. Find a quiet and peaceful location. Take measures to create a calm, soothing environment.
  2. Relax by using a breathing technique or visualizing yourself descending stairs, an escalator, whatever works for you.
  3. Now imagine a scene. Try to picture your favorite scene: something comfortable and safe.
  4. Let the image become more detailed. Try to visualize as much as possible, such as the smell of the air, the feel of the wind or the touch of the grass.
  5. Now, visualize the steps of the process necessary to achieve your goal or visualize the goal as having already been achieved.

The Effects of Guided Imagery

By using guided imagery, you can help to control and heal your body physically as well as psychologically. If you want to suggest to your body that your hand is cold, create the image of blue, icy waters and ice cubes in your mind. To create heat, imagine when you were a child and you touched a hot stove, iron, or even a hot asphalt street. It is important to create these images from your own unique experiences.

Although not completely understood, scientists are discovering that the mind actually helps maintain balance by controlling the immune system. We become susceptible to diseases when our normal balance becomes disturbed. Imagery helps create and maintain this balance while reducing stress. Many scientists believe that by being able to visualize the problems within your body, your unconscious mind then triggers your body’s natural defenses into action.