Thursday, June 19, 2008

Guided Imagery for Stress Management cont.

Guided Imagery is a proven and amazingly effective tool used clinically in hospitals, clinics and wellness centers all over the United States. Probably the most effect application and use of Guided Imagery is for Stress and emotional exhaustion and burnout. It is beneficial for all age groups. Caregivers like yourself can find tremendous benefits in your ability to cope with the frustration and hopelessness that often accompanies long-term caregiving
For those coping with health problems, guided imagery can ease anxiety, reduce pain and accelerate healing in tandem with your medical doctor’s treatment.
For the caregiver, imagery is an excellent addition to your self-care regimen. It will help you to manage stress, stay positive and motivate you to maintain your own health. It can also assist in releasing the anger, frustration and guilt that so often accompanies playing this role in your family. Caregivers report that guided imagery has helped them to accept and move through change with greater ease.
Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination. Although it has been called "visualization" and "mental imagery", these terms are misleading. Guided imagery is more than just mental pictures, imagery involves all of the senses, and almost anyone can do this. Neither is it strictly a "mental" activity – it also involves emotions and the other four senses, and it is precisely this whole body focus that makes for its powerful impact.
Over the past 25 years, the effectiveness of guided imagery has been increasingly established by research findings that demonstrate its positive impact on health, creativity and performance. We now know that in many instances even 10 minutes of imagery can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, and heighten short- term immune cell activity. It lessens headaches and pain. Because it is a right-brained activity, engaging in it will often be accompanied by other functions that reside in that vicinity: emotion, laughter, sensitivity to music, openness to spirituality, intuition, abstract thinking and empathy.
And because it mobilizes unconscious and pre-conscious processes to assist with conscious goals, it can bring to bear much more of a person's strength and motivation to accomplish a desired end. So, subtle and gentle as this technique is, it can be very powerful, and more and more so over time.
In the fold-out insert of my CD is says that Guided Imagery is an excellent mini-vacation that you can do in your favorite chair.
And the best part is:
Ø It cost nothing
Ø It does not take much time
Ø And you don’t need special equipment
Do you want to know how to guided imagery?
There are three basic steps:
I. Focused breathing
II. Progressive relaxation
III. And the mini-vacation
How do I do guided imagery?
1) Pick a location in your home that is comfortable and private.
2) Set aside 15 to 30 minutes that will be free of interruptions
3) Find a comfortable chair or lie on bed.
4) Take a couple of deep tension releasing breaths
Then, as your breath returns to normal put all of your attention on your breath. Keep your focus only on your breath. (Tip: when other thoughts or worries come up, gently release them and return attention to your breath).
5) After about 3 to 5 minutes, start your progressive relaxation:
ü Starting at the crown of your head, and very slowly moving down, begin thinking of each part of your body and visualize them releasing tension (muscle, tendons and ligaments) and relax.
ü As you slowly move down your entire body, imagine that with each breath you are drawing in soothing, calming energy and exhaling out tension and stress. Progressively move down your whole body.
6) Then, transport yourself mentally to your mini-vacation by picturing a special place that is safe and serene. Use your active imagination, and using your five senses make it as vivid as possible.
ü Sight
ü Sound
ü Touch
ü Smell
ü Taste
7) Allow yourself to spend as much time as you like in this special place. If you like, this is a good time repeat affirmations to yourself. They will be readily absorbed into your subconscious to manifest in the days to come.

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