Guided imagery meditation allows you to bring your mind into a controlled, relaxed state through mental visualization. There are therapists who specialize in directed guided imagery, where you attend special sessions on a regular basis, but many people simply decide to engage in meditation using images on their own. All it takes is a little alone time in a quiet space.
For guided imagery to work properly, you must first bring yourself to a relaxed state.
This can be achieved by sitting motionless and concentrating only on your breathing. Deep breaths from the diaphragm at a measured pace can bring you into a peaceful zone, allowing you to move on to guided imagery.
Audio cues such as music or nature sounds, or olfactory experiences such as scented candles or incense can help the relaxation process and set the stage for the imaging portion of your session.
Basic relaxation imagery has to do with your 'happy place' - a place such as you might daydream about, a kind of mental oasis. Pleasant feelings and emotions of peacefulness and quiet joy are associated with this sort of imagery, and can relax and revitalize you. They can include happy memories, or fantasies that you find enjoyable.
Some people use guided imagery in conjunction with meditation as a healing tool.
This has been shown to be helpful with post-op patients who have undergone major surgeries, or who have suffered a major loss or shock. Positive imagery is visualized flowing through the body along with measured breathing. This is also useful as a form of pain control, especially as tense muscles often contribute to pain. Visualizing relaxation while meditating can bring relief.
Imagery can be used in almost any situation to put you in a meditative, restorative state of mind, particularly if you have been practicing for a while.
You come to associate your 'happy place' with feelings of calm and peace, and can simply shut your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and transport yourself to a state of virtual Zen.
This method can work when you are faced with anxiety over a public speaking event, impending relatives, a big life moment such as a wedding or birth, or even to restore calm after an unsettling event such as a nightmare or a verbal fight.
Simply imagine that whatever is troubling you is over and done with, and that it turned out better than you could have imagined. The key is finding a quiet spot to do this, even if only for a few moments. An empty room, a bathroom stall or even a car can be a great place to meditate.
Many doctors and therapists now recommend guided imagery
Research studies have shown distinct improvement in patients who are offered the chance to learn guided imagery meditation techniques - healing times are faster, depression and stress fade away, and the person engaging in meditation regains control of his or her life! Best of all, you can do this wonderful self therapy in just 10 minutes a day.