Stress Management Techniques: Visualization

Sandi Anders, MDiv, RYT, CSC

Visualization Uses the Imagination for Healing and Relaxation

Visualization (Guided Meditation) is a powerful, creative and engaging way to soothe yourself and move into the state of deep rest and relaxation. It is a powerful tool for changing your life. Through visualization you can intentionally use your imagination to change your behavior, help your mind and body to heal, and alter the way you feel.

In her book, Staying Well with Guided Imagery, Belleruth Naparstek says that Guided Imagery is "a kind of directed, deliberate daydreaming, . . . a safe and effective method of utilizing your sensory imagination."; This helps you relax so that your mind and body may rest and recover from the ravages of chronic stress.

Why Does Visualization Work?

Imagery works because your body doesn't fully distinguish between evocative, sensory images and real events. Therefore, when one is in a state of deep relaxation, the images we choose to focus on can be potent and real to the body.

Best Way to Practice Visualization

One way to start the practice of visualization is to use an audio CD, either one that is professionally produced or your own recording of a chosen meditation script. You can also practice on your own by bringing to mind an image that you find relaxing -- a soothing image of a favorite place or a happy experience. Breathe slowly and deeply as you use all of your imaginal senses to create and savor your chosen image.

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