Guided Imagery or Visualization is a meditative technique used for stress management, emotional therapy and performance enhancement. It is a process of vividly imagining positive situations such as being on a beach or succeeding at a task. Despite the visual reference, guided imagery involves imagining stimulation of all senses such as touch and taste. Visualizations can be aided with actual stimulation of the senses such as with music. The goal is to tie in your entire mind, body, spirit. As I mentioned, visualization techniques are an important tool for elite athletes. In this context, it is sometimes referred to as mental rehearsal which helps explain its significance. Guided imagery is also an important tool in clinical psychotherapy.
While there is more detail to it, here is a quick getting-started overview of the guided imagery process. First, determine if you want to use it for relaxation or goal attainment. Then, make a few notes of what either a highly relaxing place would be or the process of achieving or having achieved your goal would be like. Take note of how all your senses would be engaged. Consider what you would be thinking and feeling. Find some quiet time. Gather anything, such as music, that will aid your thinking. Quiet your mind and imagine every aspect of your desired situation. Despite my vivid imagination, I am not yet a pro golfer, piano virtuoso or master chef, but these simple steps can help you be happier and more successful.
Manifesting is a process of positively internalizing and externalizing your goals. When you pro-actively engage in your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. For those spiritually inclined, manifesting relates closely to the Law of Attraction which forwards that the energy you put out into the universe is returned to you times over. For those that require a more tangible explanation, when you are in a positive frame of mind, you are more open to the possibilities around you. You are more likely to find and seize new opportunities. In a way, it’s like when someone goes through an extended period of being single, starts dating someone significant and then, is surrounded with new dating opportunities. When we are putting out the positive energy that a new romance generates, it attracts people to us.
The first step to making your desired future manifest is to be clear on the specifics of your dream life. Then, you have to make your goals and the steps to achieve them more tangible. For example, you can write your goals down, regularly say them aloud and keep a journal of your progress. You can use a vision board that shows your desired life through visual depictions and written affirmations. Bring in your entire mind, body, spirit. In keeping with the Law of Attraction, ask for help — both in a higher power / asking the universe way and of the people around you. Often, help comes from unexpected places, and the act of asking makes us more likely to help ourselves. Finally, remember the power of positive thinking and avoiding self-limiting thoughts and feelings. Of course, there is much more to achieving everything you want, and I can help. The key is to start the journey.
Where do you do best thinking? Chances are it’s a time when you have some enforced alone time — like in the shower or while going for a jog. Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of your best thinking comes when you are free from distraction. While I think it will be sometime before we start paying our bills in the shower, such quiet times are increasingly rare in today’s world. Meditation can help you carve out more time for quiet reflection. While meditation is a mind, body, spirit technique, it is also important as a means for taking time to centre yourself.
Meditation has a variety of techniques and goals. However, a commonality is a clearing of the mind and a calming of the body. While meditation has a connection to eastern religions and spiritual enlightenment, it is also a fairly basic relaxation technique. For example, when you deliberately focus on long, slow breathing, you bring your heart rate and blood pressure down and electrical activity in your brain changes.
Related to meditation are centering techniques. You may have seen one of these, chest thumping, used by Matthew McConaughey’s character in the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and in real life by the actor. In case you haven’t noticed, chest thumping is not ‘a thing’ because it is one way among many to centre yourself. McConaughey uses it as a visceral reminder to relax and get ‘out of his head’. Centering techniques can involve chanting, stretching, praying, yelling, cheering to name a few. The key is to use a physical manifestation to create a mental break and reset.
You don’t have to become a Hindu yogi to benefit from meditation and centering. You just have to take time out to connect your mind and body and let both relax.