Guided Imagery

guided-imagery-and-visualizationWhat is guided imagery?

    • Guided imagery is a technique that focuses attention in proactive, positive ways.
  • It is more than utilizing the visual sense, it involves all of the senses (touch, taste, hear, see, smell).

 

 

Why use guided imagery?

  • Physical benefits
    • Reduce headaches, muscle tension
    • Lower blood pressure and stress hormones in the blood
  • Achieve personal and professional goals
    • Ex. A runner visualizing the course before a race
    • Ex. A student visualizing themselves being more self-confident during a specific situation in class (such as a class presentation)
  • Deeper awareness of ourselves
    • Connecting with thoughts and feelings that might hinder understanding of ourselves and potential “road blocks.”
      • Ex. Feeling uncertain about your career? use guided imagery as a tool to help find your way.

Principles of guided imagery

  • The mind-body connection
    • To the body, images created in the mind can be almost as real as actual, external events
      • Ex. Reading a recipe and salivating—the mind constructs images of food (how it looks, tastes, and smells) causing the body to think “dinner is served”
      • Ex. Visualizing a memory can evoke the senses (do you have a memory where you can almost place yourself back in time?)
  • The altered state
    • A state of focused attention
    • A calm and energized sense of alertness
      • Sometimes this is not a conscious choice
        • Ex. Driving past our exit on the highway
      • In guided imagery, we enter this state intentionally
  • Locus of control
    • When we have a sense of acceptance and agency in our lives that is therapeutic, it can help us feel, think, and do better
    • When we feel like we have agency, we may feel more optimistic, self-confident, and maybe more willing to tolerate stress or pain
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