Guided visualization is a combination of suggestions and directed thoughts that can help an individual’s imagination drift into a calm and relaxed state. There are numerous ways an individual can use guided visualization, and ultimately it depends which way works best for the person using this extremely helpful technique. Some processes people use are scripts, tapes, or even instructors to guide them along in the process known in alternative medicine as guided visualization.
Guided visualization is based on an eastern concept that one’s body and mind are even more connected than we sometimes can comprehend. When one enters this state the individual may feel as if everything they are experiencing is real as ones senses are fully activated. One major example of this is imagining taking a bite out of a doughnut. During this process you may picture the sugary glaze of the doughnut in your mind therefore activating your taste buds to remember what a doughnut tastes like. You may also know the soft feel of the dough that makes the doughnut.
What we are trying to help you understand is that guided visualization activates the participants senses in many ways and can be helpful in many forms of therapy and relaxation. If used correctly guided visualization can help the individual achieve a better lifestyle all around. This technique is gradually finding its way from eastern cultures on into the western parts of the world.
What is guided visualization used for?
Now that you should be a little more familiar with the concept of guided visualization we would like to cover it’s uses. In many cases guided visualization is used in therapy in order to relieve the individual at hand of stress, and to help promote a more healthy stress free lifestyle. Guided visualization can also be used to reach any goal an individual has in mind such as quitting smoking, starting a new diet, mending family problems, brain training, healthy habits, and pain management. These are just some of the ways guided visualization is used in modern times in order to bring about positive change in the participant.
How can one learn to practice guided visualization?
The best way for one to learn guided visualization techniques is to consult a professional such as a therapist or a counselor. However anyone can learn to perform the technique by themselves and use it to improve one’s livelihood. The easiest way to go about performing guided visualization is to find a quiet place and position to begin. Think of an extremely calming place in your mind while at the same time bringing your breath to a steady but slow pace. Also be sure to close your eyes, and clear the area you are in of any sounds or distractions which may affect the technique practice. While in your “peaceful place” be sure to focus all of your senses on how things are around you. Engage all of your senses in the activity, and vividly imagine the event.
A great example would be to imagine oneself on an island next to the beach drinking a lemonade, and digging ones toes deep into the sand. As you do this imagine how beautiful the waves of the ocean sound like, and how sweet the lemonade you are drinking tastes. Everyone will have their own visualization of happiness, but the end result is what matters and that is usually a major decrease in stress. Continue practicing the technique, and you will find you get better each time.
What are some Pros of guided visualization?
Guided visualization is a very positive way for oneself to deal with negative events or thoughts that arise in one’s daily life. Life can be very stressful to deal with, and even more so when one’s mind is cluttered with negative things of the past. One of the easiest ways to deal with this is using a well thought out session of guided visualization. Done regularly this can help in relieving depression, forms of stress, anxiety, pain, and even bad habits such as smoking. Another positive ideal of guided visualization is that it is relatively easy to learn, and it can be done anywhere as long as the location is quiet and the individual practicing it feels safe there. The sessions can be very brief which makes for an easy way to incorporate them into even the most crowded schedules.
What do experts say about the technique known as guided visualization?
As guided visualization becomes increasingly more and more popular many individuals are learning about the technique. One question that arises and rightfully so is what medical experts think about it. Recently a therapist in California performed the technique on a group of smokers. The results were outstanding with nearly a 78% success rate in short term relief of stress. Used regularly, the user can greatly reduce their urge to smoke cigarettes which greatly reduces their health risks. Many experts feel that guided visualization falls under the same category as meditation, but unlike meditation takes the user to a whole different level. As some images can be sensitive to ones imagination based on their past experiences, one needs to tread lightly and be sensitive to this advice.
Is guided visualization a safe practice? What are the side effects?
Guided visualization is known to be completely safe for the user who is practicing it. Many therapists who are familiar with the technique use it daily on their patients with no known side effects. Many of us use guided visualization daily without even knowing so in various memory building techniques. For example, you may have forgotten your keys on your way out the door to work in the morning. In order to backtrack and find where you placed your keys in the house it’s a good idea to visualize the path you took ever since you left your bed after waking up in the morning.