Guided Visualization and imagery is a meditative technique using the imaginative powers of the mind to visualize positive outcomes. This process involves using mental images to promote health, wellness, and relaxation. We all visualize and imagine all the time but visualizing consciously has a lot of benefits from better health and less stress to better performance and reaching life goals. Here are some benefits backed by scientific studies that are stretching to new areas everyday life:
“Since the earliest days of scientific psychology, the value of mental imagery incomprehension, memory, and reasoning has been recognised and studied. The massive amount of data collected in this domain of research has revealed that the human mind is often inclined toward the most direct contact possible with the objectsof its focus, using mental images in addition to and sometimes instead of indirect or more remote contact based on symbolic, language-like representational systems. In scientific thinking, as in every other form of thinking, imagery is considered an irreplaceable tool , which efficiently supplements more abstract forms of reasoning(Denis, Logie, Cornoldi, de Vega, & Engelkamp, 2001; Shepard, 1988).”
“Neuroimaging of Mental Imagery”
Edited by:Michel Denis Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
Emmanuel Mellet , Université de Caen and Université René-Descartes, France;
Stephen M.Kosslyn, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, MA,USA
Behavioral studies have demonstrated that imagery content can selectively influence also perception ( Perky, 1910; McDermott and Roediger, 1994; Pearson et al., 2008)
In the research area of behavior change and self regulation, significant results are showing up over and over again. Mindfulness-Informed Guided Imagery to Target Physical Activity trial concluded that; Guided imagery is theorized to influence behavior change and self-regulation by strengthening the link between cognitions and goal-directed actions (Renner et al., 2019) and can be used in a range of contexts to increase motivation toward exercise behavior (Andersson and Moss, 2011; Giacobbi et al., 2014).
Guided imagery delivered before or during physical activity is shown to amplify physical activity enjoyment and satisfaction (Stanley and Cumming, 2010), highlighting its capacity to target the reward system outlined in the dual-system model.
Effects among healthy subjects of the duration of regularly practicing a guided imagery program have been studied and results are promising. It has been concluded that “The longer the duration that participants had practiced the Guided Imagery program once a day regularly, the lower scores of their stress were and the higher scores of their health were. It has been suggested that the regular daily practice of a Guided Imagery program might be connected to less stress and better health.”
There are also enormous amount of research where visualization and guided imagery is used as a tool for treatment as a part of complementary medicine
A critical review of the literature by Trakhtenberg suggested that guided imagery can influence the immune system.
There is increasing interest in the literature on the efficacy of guided imagery as part of a broader biobehavioral model for disability and depression , which includes its use in the management of inflammatory diseases.
A recent trial in clinical groups examining the effectiveness of guided imagery as compared with usual care on fibromyalgia symptoms demonstrated that; patients assigned to guided imagery showed significant decreases in fatigue, pain and depression.
For the fact that the brain doesn’t know the difference between the real and the imagined, guided imagery and visualisation became a great tool for Reducing anxiety . Usually the anxiety is created by the body that is living another reality created by the brain. So if it is given another stimulus to the brain the body becomes relaxed easier.
In a recent trial Effect of guided imagery on anxiety, muscle pain, and vital signs in patients with COVID-19 has been studied.
“In guided imagery, the brain activated in the same area when experiencing an event is reactivated. In other words, a person creates exactly a stream of thoughts through which he/she would be able to see, hear, feel, or smell what he/she desires or imagines in his/her imagination at the time. Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that focuses on pleasant mental events and images rather than stressful emotions. In this method, the client is involved with mental imagery to the extent that the body responds to it as a real experience to cause profound physiological consequences. This method, as a complementary medicine technique, can be learned through either an instructor or self-study materials and used in cases of pain and anxiety to reduce pain and psychological stress.”
Evaluation of guided imagery as treatment for recurrent abdominal pain in children: a randomized controlled study showed that ; “The therapeutic efficacy of guided imagery with progressive muscle relaxation found in this study is consistent with our present understanding of the pathophysiology of recurrent abdominal pain in children. Although unfamiliar to many pediatricians, guided imagery is a simple, noninvasive therapy with potential benefit for treating children with RAP.”
In another study for Guided imagery targeting exercise,for food cravings, and stress concluded that, the guided imagery intervention resulted in significant reductions in food cravings across time.
There are numerous scientific studies that show the benefits of Visualization and Guided imagery in different areas for human health and wellbeing [x].
So it is important to conclude that….
Visutate never is and never will be a magic stick that changes the current reality immediately but ; it surely is a great tool to learn and practice visualization and guided imagery as one can summarize from these scientific studies that is a curious and joyful path you may choose to consider, which may bring you health, happiness and ultimately your life.
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