I have been told that I have quite the imagination. If I think something will go wrong, my mind takes it to the next level. I go from a concerned level to disaster level pretty quickly.
As I sit in class doing guided imagery, and read the research on how visualization can help improve a patient’s response to treatment and surgery, It hits me; we have the power to change our body’s chemistry through our thoughts?!
Sounds a little crazy doesnt it?
So what does “guided imagery” mean?
The Academy for Guided Imagery (AGI) classifies the therapeutic application of guided imagery into three categories:
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Active visualization or directed imagery – for improving performance, changing behavior, or influencing an outcome
- Receptive imagery – in which words and images are brought to consciousness to explore and give information about symptoms, treatments, moods or illnesses
Guided imagery is the process of listening to someone’s voice guide you through a mental picture. Our minds (conscious and subconscious) can create images in our waking or sleeping (dreaming/daydreaming) lives. Guided imagery helps to harness this natural and amazing ability to CHANGE our physiology.
Years of clinical research confirms this. There are studies that show nurses doing a guided imagery with a patients before surgery. The patients decreased their stay in the hospital after surgery, and healed faster than the patients who did not participate in guided imagery.
How many times have you been sleeping and wake yourself up because you dreamed that you were falling? In your dream you may experience fear, excitement, rush of adrenaline. You wake up and notice that you are sweating and your heart is racing. Why, you weren’t actually falling? But you produced a physical response.
Guiding your imagination is a tool you can use but you have to be willing to give it a try. We already use it, we just have to learn how to use it to our advantage.
Professional athletes and olympic swimmers use it to help them focus on their goal. Imagine the possibilities in what you can accomplish if you just imagine that you can and you will!