Guided imagery is a safe and powerful way to involve the mind/ body/spirit in a process of relaxing, visualizing and opening to healing insights and resources. Guided imagery brings you into a relaxed but alert and focused state from which you use your imagination to connect with your senses.Through such modalities as metaphors, memories, music and inspiring words--you create or recreate a new frame of reference for dealing with challenges….and moving on.
Research has proven over the past 25 years, that guided imagery positively impacts health, creativity and performance. It's benefits include:
Improved mastery and performance
Reducing worry, anxiety and panic
Promoting feelings of calm, peace and safety
Reduce addictive cravings
Regain energy and focus
Ease sleep problems
Boost immune function
By listening to guided imagery on a daily basis—you are downloading, reminding and reinforcing imagery and inspirational words that are specific to you- -Starting or ending your day letting go of distractions and reconnecting with what really matters to you.
THE BEST WAY TO RECEIVE THIS IMAGERY IS:
Settle into a comfortable place, turn off the phone, tell others you will be unavailable for awhile. Make sure you are sitting comfortably or better yet lying down, temperature is right, lights are low, using headphones is the best Your unconscious is most receptive right before you fall asleep and right when you first wake up-so this is the best time to listen. However, in the middle of a stressful day-listening to this can be a perfect break. You will be in a state of focused awareness—not under any spell and under anyone’s control (a myth) Take your time before transitioning back into your life—let the imagery settle. They say it takes up to 100 days to change a habit—try to listen daily!!
Activity for today…….
Take 10 minutes, unplug from everything, get comfortable, close your eyes, take in a deep breath, and imagine what a perfect day would be like for you today--
Notice how you would start and end your day, what you would be eating, wearing, seeing and smelling---what would you want to accomplish and what resources would you need to do so? Take out your journal and write down your images and thoughts.
Guided Imagery and Narrative Revision During Life Transitions - an excerpt from an article by Linda Blachman, MPH, MA, CPC
Linda Blachman is a certified life coach and imagery guide in private practice with a specialty in navigating adults through life transitions. She is author of Another Morning: Voices of Truth and Hope from Mothers with Cancer, based on her work from 1995-2005 as founder and executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Mothers’ Living Stories Project.
Guided imagery entered my life in 1994 when I developed a condition that threatened my way of life and sense of self. An inoperable back injury led to three years of disability and uncertainty as to whether I would walk again. During that time, my job ended, my mother died, and my daughter graduated high school and left home. My world collapsed along with my spine. Only in retrospect did I understand that a chapter of my life had ended and that the prolonged transition I was entering would alter my direction and lead me to my truest work. Even more slowly came the realization that the worst kinds of life changes – the ones foisted upon us – can become our greatest opportunities for positive self-development.
Most of us fight uninvited change, and I was no exception. For months I railed against my new reality of chronic pain, dependency and isolation, trying every which way to “go back” to the way things had been and the identity I had known. It didn’t work. Forced to choose between brain death by staring at the television’s flickering lights or possible brain growth by entering introspection’s seeming darkness, I chose the latter and began to develop a side of myself that had been starving for attention. Confined to home or bed, it is still possible to travel vertically –up into spirit life, down into soul life. In between physical therapy and medical appointments, I meditated, attended to dreams, wrote, wept, waited, and read illness narratives to learn how others worse off coped. Without realizing what I was doing, I also conducted a life review that began a process of integrating the past and reclaiming my natural gifts and deepest longings. And then guided imagery became a central transitional tool. In only one session, a psychotherapist friend taught me how to use imagery to relax, relieve pain and find a safe internal place. Frightened, sick and lost, I found solace in visiting my secret garden, elaborating its furnishings and décor and inhabiting it with friendly animals that became inner guides while easing my loneliness. The desperate quest for pain relief evolved into a daily pilgrimage to my inner depths. I looked forward to opening the gate to my sanctuary, greeting its intriguing cast of characters, and peering into a deep pond ringed by rocks in the garden’s center.
One day a string of words in a language I had thought long forgotten arose in a vaporous mist from the pond’s dark waters. Deciphering these clues initiated an exciting period of self-discovery. Although my physical recovery would take years, the creative process of soul reclamation had begun. Little by little, following the symbolic breadcrumbs of the imaginal world led to my healing and ability to bring healing to others. As I learned to walk again, I also revised my life and narrative into one far more authentic, vital and deeply rooted in my essential self than any I had known before. The images from the pond ultimately coalesced into a vision that became a template and plan for a nonprofit organization I would direct over the next decade – my next major life chapter.
Kerri MorrisI am a writing professor who lives in the suburbs south of Chicago. I've lived my life in the deserts and mountains of New Mexico, the tundra of Alaska, and, now, in Chicagoland. If I could have lived a different life, I would have chosen to be taller and to play point guard for Pat Summitt's Lady Vols. Instead I've gotten to live my life as a writer and reader, a teacher and student, a cook and a bike rider with my husband, daughter and two cats.
People with cancer experience anxiety in every imaginable form. Sometimes it’s a siren scream and other times it’s the irregular drip of a faucet. Anxiety is intrusive and distracting. It grinds away and swallows. If there were a competition for the worst part of having cancer, anxiety would win hands down.
I have been learning how to cope with cancer and the anxiety in my life through a “Guided Imagery” class at the Cancer Support Center. My daughter and I attend together, and we look forward to the 45-minute session all week
The idea of sitting still and being “in the moment” is repugnant to me. In the past, when I’ve tried to relax I’ve felt claustrophobic and trapped. I’m a restless spirit, a high energy caffeine addict.
After being diagnosed with cancer, however, anxiety and fear became intolerable. Thankfully, I was directed to the Cancer Support Center and the “Guided Imagery” class.
We sit in a dimly lit room, eyes closed, listening to one of the counselors reading a script. Sometimes the script walks us through relaxation techniques, moving from head to toe, reminding us to breathe and exhale, breathe and exhale.
We are taken on boats, to beaches, to meadow, and forests. We find treasures, walk up stairs, fly, and swim. We leave behind our luggage, imagine gifts and people.
I discovered that after 10 minutes of relaxation and imagining, no matter where we were guided or what the script said, I was relaxed. I found myself in some sort of blank place, dissociated from my life and my fears and responsibilities.
At the end of 45 minutes the feeling of calm goes all the way to the bone. I have reluctance to leave this blank place almost every time.
This regular practice of stopping and being in the present, of zoning out and falling into blankness has rescued me and seen me through some very dark times, providing a way of coping with cancer and anxiety.
My Wild Guided Imagery Cancer Adventure
http://voices.yahoo.com/ writer Elizabeth Danu tells about how she used imagery to deal with her breast cancer by imagining her white blood cells to be strong and powerful destroying the "intruder" of cancer. Here is an excerpt to you now from her story:
On the morning I began chemotherapy, I met my cancer in a dream, and he was wild. Not smart, but crazy, aggressive, and scary He was in my house, waving a broom to bludgeon me with. He was only in the front hall. He hadn't made it upstairs, into the living room, or the kitchen.
I knew I needed plenty of white blood cells to get me through. Oh, they were so beautiful! I love my white blood cells. They emerge from the rich brown earth (my bones) and take shape in pairs. They are strong and powerful, a male and a female sent out into the world of my body to keep it safe. They look like Greek gods, dressed in tunics of white and gold. They are very tall, and they have wings. They are noble, and they are relentless. Any intruder is destroyed immediately with a beam of gleaming light like a thousand suns that comes straight from their hands. If two of them are not enough, they communicate telepathically to other pairs of guardians, until there are enough to surround the threat completely. To this day I am grateful to these majestic and fearsome protectors of my body. My beautiful white blood cells are still there, protecting me.
Using Imagery to Enhance Standard Cancer Treatment How Guided Imagery Has Helped Me Get Well and Stay Well
The practice of imagery is nothing new. Most of us are using imagery all the time. One of my teachers would always start her talk on imagery with "do you know how to worry?"
How vivid are the pictures you make in your mind when you worry? When you have been worrying, do you feel it in your shoulders, your neck, your head? Do you have trouble sleeping? If imagery is that powerful when turned against ourselves, how powerful can it be when it used in a positive way, to help ourselves instead?
It is very, very powerful and effective. I know this from experience. There is imagery for just about anything you can imagine happening in your body. I have used it to calm myself, to sleep, to get myself motivated to do something important or difficult, to enhance my immune system, increase my white and red blood cell counts and to enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy I received to fight an aggressive cancer.
Preparing For Surgery: How to Use Guided Imagery For Optimal Outcomes
By Glenda Cedarleaf MSW LCSW and Dr. Noel Radcliffe Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6752225
Are you or a loved one preparing for an upcoming surgery? As the time draws nearer, sometimes anxious thoughts can become overwhelming, leaving you feeling fearful and powerless. The good news is that studies have shown that using the power of the mind body connection can help you recover faster and have fewer side effects. Guided Imagery helps you focus on relaxation and healing so that you are better prepared to respond effectively to your procedure.
This primary purpose of this article is to help you feel calmer and more empowered as you prepare for your medical procedure. The more you practice this method the more effective it will be. Guided Imagery can help you achieve improved surgical outcomes; this includes less pain, fewer complications and even a faster recovery. Relaxation can help you lower your cortisol and adrenaline levels, leading to lower blood pressure and heart rate. The more you practice the better your results and the more relaxed you will be at the time of surgery.
Another equally important benefit is to clarify your desired outcome. You are having surgery for a reason and there is a desired outcome. Surgery is a transformative event. First you remove your material identifiers like your clothes or ring. Next you enter a sterile space.You give up control and put your life in the hands of others. You surrender your consciousness. When you awaken you will be changed; transformed.
Before you listen to a guided imagery audio, take a moment to picture the outcome you desire. Maybe less pain, greater mobility or a cure from illness. What do you want your life to be like after surgery?
How do you want to feel? By focusing on the outcome you desire you help direct the healing power of your mind.
Do you want to be more relaxed?
Do you want to wake up in a more positive mood?
Do you want to give your mind and body suggestions for healing and reduced pain?
Or do you want to allow your surgery experience to bring you greater clarity in your desired outcomes?
Do you want a greater connection to healing and to your body?
Guided Imagery is endorsed and encouraged by Harvard trained Dr Andrew Weil, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic. It is used across the country and the world in hospitals and many other settings for healing.
In a recent study, just 15 minutes of hypnosis an hour before surgery, significantly reduced patient's need for anesthesia. It also resulted in less post surgical pain and other side effects. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Sept. 5, 2007).
As you prepare for your procedure it is helpful to take some time to think about and then write a few positive healing statements about your procedures; words and phrases you want to be reminded of by your health care team during and just after your procedure.
What would you most want to be reminded of?
What do you need to be reassured of?
An example of a reassuring statement is "You are safe, Your body is healing" and "Following this procedure, your appetite will return and at the right time you will be hungry and thirsty."
Other helpful considerations include:
Make sure that whoever is your companion--truly knows your concerns so they can support you in expressing your needs and advocating on your behalf.
You may want to consider contacting a qualified guided imagery practitioner in advance of your procedure to schedule some sessions to address your specific issues. Hypnosis and guided imagery are very effective in treating phobias and reducing anxiety. Many guided imagery practitioners create customized audios that incorporate YOUR unique images and suggestions for healing.
Speak with your health care provider ahead of time and find out ways you can include Listening to your surgery audio just before your procedure, during and after.
Remember to bring your audio player and headphones with you to your procedure.
Give your health care providers the statements you would like them to say to you during and right after your procedure.
Continue to listen to relaxation and guided imagery audios after your procedure. In doing so, you are continuing to "download" your brain with positive messages and images, replacing "worry" imagery with guided imagery for healing. The more you can reduce your level of anxiety, the greater the chance of reduced pain as there is a direct connection between increased anxiety causing increased pain.
Remember the importance of your state of mind, your focus on healing and the positive effect of a relaxed body on the healing process. Bringing your mind and body to a state of calm can influence your body's healing ability. Just like athletes who prepare for their events with visualization, you too can use this powerful practice as you prepare mind, body and spirit for this important event in your life.
We wish you well now as you take this step in your own self care.
Glenda Cedarleaf is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Holistic Psychotherapist and Guided Imagery Practitioner. She creates pre made and customized hypnotic guided meditation audios for healing. Her CD "Healing Surgery takes you takes you through the whole process of preparing for, undergoing, waking up and recuperating from your procedure. "Healing Surgery" includes many of these kinds of suggestions as well as imagery to relax, and to create a safe space in which to focus your energy on your own healing and well being. It is currently being used at Ridgeview Medical Center by patients in the out patient surgery department, the Cardiac Catheter Lab and Emergency Department.
Noël Radcliffe M.D. is a pioneer in bringing consciousness and healing to mainstream clinical practice. A founding partner of Edina Sports Health & Wellness, one of the first privately owned clinics in the Minneapolis area to utilize a healing design. Here she promotes an integral approach to healing chronic illness and optimal personal wellness. A diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, Associate professor at University of Minnesota, and a certified Qigong instructor, she divides her time between clinical practice, and the promotion of a more holistic approach to health through her writings and consultations. Her goal is to broaden our understanding of how we heal on many levels and thereby awaken our natural healing abilities