Everyone experiences stress. Unfortunately, this is a state of reality in every part of the world and at one time or another for everyone on the planet. Adults get it, children get it, animals and even clouds in the sky get it but the question remains: what are you doing about yours? Since stress is common, the simple act of it isn’t the problem but instead how we handle the stress we have been given. Do you ignore your stress until it keeps creeping back in your life or does it quickly manifest itself by anxiety attacks, headaches or sweaty palms? Whether stress takes the form of emotional, mental or physical pain in your life, it is something that’s on everyone’s mind as we strive to eliminate it as much as possible. Use guided imagery as a way to find inner peace, tranquility and relaxation for some of the best stress reduction techniques out there.
Benefits of guided imagery
Guided imagery is profoundly relaxing, soothing and a great tool at anyone’s disposal for self-healing. It is a creative and totally natural way to eliminate the stress triggers in your life, such as hectic work days, traumatizing childhood abuse memories, post traumatic stress disorder, divorce, loss of a loved one, the diagnoses of a ailment or disease or if you simply just need some calming exercises to help you escape from your daily worries. Beginners unfamiliar to meditation may find guided meditation very comforting and simple in approach while those familiar with self-hypnosis and meditation may find guided imagery to be a nice change of pace from their usual relaxation techniques.
Life can come at us fast, or certainly the challenging events that we face from time to time can. We aren’t always “under control” as much we would like to be or think we are. We may encounter the betrayal of a spouse and don’t know what to do. We may have to deal with the loss of a job at a time in our life when we expected to retire or we may simply be so out of touch with certain aspects of our life that we have a mild melt down and need the support of something larger than ourselves – something that will help us to feel safe and loved. Guided imagery can do that for us and much, much more.
How to use guided imagery
In a nutshell, guided imagery is not about using your brain and thinking logically or intellectually. Guided imagery is about giving your mind a break and instead relying on your senses to see and feel warm, inviting and happy images. A beginner can find an instant release and comfort just by closing their eyes and concentrating on a place that they feel sensations of happiness from. You can pick anything you feel comforted by and immediately be transported there by the power of your thoughts. If your childhood bedroom is the place that gives you the greatest amount of pleasure, a white sand beach, being surrounded by daffodils in the middle of a beautiful meadow or the sensation of riding a horse through the countryside, you are successful with a guided imagery. Just think about where you feel most happy and loved, and allow your mind to evoke as many feelings and details about that “happy place” of yours as possible. Don’t rush the image of what you are doing there. Take the time to notice what you see, smell, taste and touch. What shade of yellow are the daffodils you see? What does riding that horse bring back for you? Does your childhood home bring back feelings of ease, comfort and love?
Why does guided imagery work so well? Even though the images may be imaginary, the feelings they emit to the brain are very real. As you focus on every little detail in your guided imagery such as the climate, colors, feelings of being there and the landscape, your brain is working hard by sending clear messages to your nervous system that for the moment this place does exist. The cortex (which is the part of your brain that thinks) is sending a relaxation response to your body and that’s when you can release the stress from your life and just enjoy the moment of your image and the blissful feelings it emits. Guided imagery is particularly important for anyone who is dealing with a large amount of stress. When you don’t act on your stress and try to manage it in a healthy way, it will only get worse over time. The longer that stress goes on, the more your body is likely to suffer which can in the end, make it harder to manage. Instead of letting it go on and on, use any moment of your day to imagine a place – any place that gives you the greatest amount of pleasure, happiness and comfort.
If you’re a beginner to guided imagery, try this easy exercise. Imagine you are about to bite into an orange. Look at it in front of you and notice the size of it. What color is the orange? Now pick it up slowly and feel its smooth texture. Begin to peel away the skin and as you do, pay attention to how easy it is to wrap your hands around it. As you take that first bite, feel its juice dribble down your chin and drop onto your lap. Are you salivating now? The image of the orange is an easy one to start with and perfect for anyone who wants an introduction to guided imagery. Once you’re ready for a more advanced imagery session, try this next exercise and really test your visualization skills!
Who doesn’t love the surf, sun and sand? Since the image of the sun beating down on our bare skin is a pleasing sensation for nearly everyone, this relaxing guided imagery exercise of being at the beach is a popular one for relaxation. Transport yourself to a white sand beach on a day where the sun is out, the seagulls are flying overhead and you have brought the perfect book to read. Sit up and watch the birds fly with ease. Begin walking down to the water and as you do feel the warmth and coarseness of the sand wedge itself in between your toes. You begin to think about how light and airy your clothes are when you feel the warm, penetrating sun coming down on your entire body. You breathe in and smell the salty ocean air, find the perfect spot to lay down on the white sand and drift to sleep.
Learn more guided imagery techniques with Burt Goldman’s Quantum Jumping program.
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