Close your eyes and relax. Imagine yourself on an island…listen to the birds sing, smell the tropical flowers and fruit, feel the warm sun and most salt water on your skin. Doesn’t it feel relaxing?
What was just described to you was a common relaxation technique called guided imagery. In guided imagery the participant imagines a relaxing world that incorporates all their senses.
Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that has been used since ancient civilization to combat stress, aid in relaxation, and to help in sports and other performances. Today I am going to tell you what guided imagery is, the benefits of guided imagery, and why guided imagery works.
Guided imagery consists of a narrative story that uses a variety of selected words, music, and sounds to help you enter a state of deep relaxation. The script that can be used can be read to the participant or be listened to on a CD. Because of the deep relaxation and the words evoking memories and feelings, the participant feels as if they are really in the place being described to them.
Guided imagery has been used since ancient civilization as a healing tool and is a part of many religions. Many groups use imagery to imagine themselves healthy while others used it to arouse the heart and other parts of the body. There are many uses for guided imagery, and is used for everything from simple relaxation to psychotherapy.
When listening to guided imagery the participant listens for the meaning or feeling behind the words. Think about what feelings and meanings come to you if I were to describe a freshly picked apple. What color is it? What does it feel like? What great memories do you associate with apples? Does the thought of an apple remind you of the fair or your first grade teacher? Being able to associate happy feelings to the description of images is what guided imagery is.
Guided imagery requires patience and persistence. For some it may take many sessions...