Understanding Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a technique where you use your imagination to picture a person, place, or time that makes you feel relaxed, peaceful and happy. Imagery is a form of relaxation that helps bring about harmony between the mind and body. It is a way of focusing your imagination to create calm, peaceful images in your mind, thereby providing a “mental escape.”

For instance, in your imagination you hear the sound of the ocean, you see rain falling from the sky, you feel the wind in your hair, you smell nature, and you taste your warm soup. Using all of your five senses, makes guided imagery a very, powerful tool in challenging situations and influencing physical and emotional states, while enhancing a person’s coping skills.

It is a way of viewing your ideas, feelings, experiences and interpretations. Imagery can stimulate changes in bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory patterns.

Mental images, created long before you learn to understand and use words, lie at the centre of who you think you are, what you believe the world is like, what you feel you deserve, what you think will happen to you, and how motivated you are to take care of yourself. These images strongly influence your beliefs and attitudes about how you experience illness and what can make a difference in helping you get better.

Note: Guided Imagery is similar to Visualization, in that you’re using your imagination for a specific purpose; however, visualization is more focused on a definite outcome. People use visualization techniques to imagine completing goals or working through a situation with an exact outcome in mind.