We often overlook the power of our own mind in changing our bodies and physiology.
Our brain is incredible, but can’t tell the difference between what we are thinking about and imagining and what is really happening. Therefore, if we are dwelling on negativity and reliving past bad experiences over and over again, our brain will activate a stress response, assuming we are really under siege.
This is why we can get so emotional during a movie or wake up from an inappropriate dream unable to look our coworker in the eye later that day.
So rather than dwelling in the past or reliving negative experiences, one of the keys to healing is staying in the present or visualizing the future with positivity and productivity. There are several visualization tips I have for you.
How To Visualize For A Better Life
1. Take yourself to a relaxing place.
For example, if you really like the forest, you can visualize walking through the woods. Use all of the senses that you can pull in.
Picture the light dappling through the trees, the smell of the moist ground beneath you, the wind blowing through your hair, the sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet. It’s almost as if you can taste the moistness in the air.
Doing a nature visualization is a phenomenal way to decrease pain and relieve stress. You can enhance the experience even more by using a sound machine of the ocean, aromatherapy, or even by sticking your hand in a bucket of sand.
2. Physically picture healing.
You can actually activate your immune system and try to speed healing.
I have been using visualization since I was 15 years old to boost my immune function. I would visualize the space behind my heart, which I know now to be the thymus gland.
I would picture white light rushing from that area to the part of my body that needed the immune boost, typically my throat. It was as if the cavalry was rushing over the hill to save the day. And I would concentrate on that area being bathed in white healing light, imagining the virus or bacteria being conquered.
3. Use images that work for you.
It is important to use images that work for you. If you are not a fan of the concept of war, you don’t want to picture a battle waging inside your body.
Perhaps it’s ants at a picnic or ice melting that relaxes you. My husband visualized our cat laying on his chest and purring to break up the congestion from bronchitis. Some people visualize Pac-Man.
I had a client who was terminally ill with throat cancer. She would picture hundreds of beautiful angels swooping in to remove the tumor. Outside of a miracle, she wasn’t going to survive the cancer. But what she told me was that visualizing lessened her pain and was the only time she felt in control. Though that whole cancer experience, she felt like people were just doing things to her, while visualization made her an active participant in her own care.
4. Remember: visualization can be used for anything.
I have utilized visualization for multiple surgeries and injuries. I picture the wound healing faster, the tissue coming together. I reframe pain as sensations of healing. I actually picture a small construction worker evaluating the situation and then doing what he needs to do to fix it, whether it’s carrying away dead tissue in a wheelbarrow or stitching up a wound with a giant needle and thread.
It may sound silly, but personalizing those images and making them real for you can actually make a difference in your healing. I’m not saying you should stop seeing your doctor or throw away all your meds, but using imagery can be a great adjunct to your other therapies. Whether it’s you walking on the beach or having a small man running around your body fixing things, I encourage you to use the power of your mind to enhance your healing.
Kathy Gruver, PhD is the multi-award winning author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and Conquer your Stress. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows and her words have graced the pages of countless magazines and websites. She lectures around the country on health, wellness and stress.
Photo by * michael sweet *