Guided Imagery: Potential Health Benefits

Imagine that you are in a place where you feel completely at ease. For example, maybe you’re sitting on a calm, serene beach. Picture waves lapping along the shoreline. They listen to the gentle sounds they make and smell the salty air. How does the wind feel against your skin? How does soft sand feel between your toes?

This is directed imagery at work, and thus brief, regular breaks can make you feel more relaxed.

Guided imagery, a meditative mental health practice, can be used in a variety of ways for potential health benefits, from controlling daily stress through mindfulness apps to assisting in trauma therapy through clinical settings. . Ultimately, this mind-body technique can shift the body from a stress response to relaxation, explains Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN and a professor at the school, founder and director of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing. of Nursing at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

In short, your mind can be an important visualization tool, which in turn can influence your physical responses. For example, in guided imagery, the act of imagining a peaceful place in detail can deepen and slow your breathing, lower your heart rate, and lower blood pressure, Dr. Kreitzer says. (According to one study, using nature imagery can be especially powerful for some.) And according to research, all of these potential benefits can affect your stress levels and quality of life.

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