Posts Tagged ‘guided imagery’
You don’t need science or statistics to experience the results of how meditation clears your mind and helps forget your worries. However, more research is being done today more than ever and meditation is now highly recommended for those of all ages. For children, learning to practice meditation will help them improve academic performance, learn new skills, become calmer and develop resilience. They also become more aware of their “self,” their emotions, and become more accepting of others.
There are several ways to introduce your child to meditation. Guided imagery is delightful because it utilizes your child’s natural born ability to pretend and daydream. Using audio recordings or reading guided meditations out loud from your Kindle or a book, you can have your child rest comfortably and enjoy this special time with you. Different types of guided imagery will invite your child’s imagination to open and visualize various things such as slowly taking a walk through to a forest and mentally experiencing the sights and sounds. This is very effective at clearing the mind and relaxing the whole body. As you can imagine, this type of activity with your child is a perfect segue to bedtime or to transition from one part of the day to the next.
One very effective meditation for balancing moods is to ask your child to close their eyes and think about a tree that has fruit on it. You child will learn to identify the fruits. Then tell them some of the fruits are happy and some are sad. Ask your child to imagine asking the sad fruits what they need to feel happy again. It might be that they need water and your child can imagine watering the fruit, smiling at it or giving it smiles or hugs or other forms of positive energy. As the fruit becomes happy, your child will automatically feel happier as well and build great empathy skills.
Another meditation tip for your child is to have him or her sit in a cross-legged position. When they get comfortable, ring a bell. Ask your child to listen to the sound the bell makes and to raise his or her hands when the sound completely stops. You can then ask your child to keep eyes closed and listen to the sounds they hear and describe them to you including if those sounds are close or far away.
Another excellent form of meditation is to use a cloud gazing technique where your child sits quietly, focuses on the inhaling and exhaling of their breathing. Tell your child that when he or she starts to have thoughts, to envision them as if they are clouds and watch as they pass through the “sky” inside your child’s mind.
Doing these types of meditative practices with your child will help increase his or her awareness of what is going on around them, they will gain focus, learn better and get along with others better as well. They are also a great way to have fun and create deeper bonds with your child. If possible, make meditation into a daily or weekly routine for the best results.
Guided imagery is a gentle, yet powerful mind-body technique that uses positive mental images to guide the imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. Guided imagery, considered a form of hypnosis, is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. With the aid of an experienced and qualified therapist, you will learn to focuses your mind on calm, peaceful images to create harmony between the mind and body. When you learn to communicate more effectively with your unconscious mind, you can bring about healthful changes to the body and the mind.
Guided imagery doesn’t just involve your visual senses. It involves all of your senses – sight, taste, sound, smell, and sensation. You can achieve a deep relaxed state when you imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place, such as a secluded beach or a meadow. Using a beach as an example, you will be guided to experience not just what you see, but what you hear (the crashing waves, the whistling wind), what you smell (the salty air and sunscreen), and so on. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real. As a result, your relaxed state may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being.
Because guided imagery is a mind-body therapy, any stress-related health concern, including high blood pressure, pain related to muscle tension, insomnia, and anxiety or depression, may be alleviated using this approach. It has also been shown to be beneficial in treating autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. How long one focuses on the techniques is less important than how regularly they are practiced – a few minutes every day can reap greater benefits than spending more time on it less often.
Guided imagery is a two-part process. The first component involves reaching a state of deep relaxation through breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. Once complete relaxation is achieved, the second component of the exercise is the imagery, or visualization, itself. There are a number of different types of guided imagery techniques.
The Academy for Guided Imagery (AGI) classifies the therapeutic application of guided imagery into three categories:
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Active visualization or directed imagery – for improving performance, changing behavior, or influencing an outcome
- Receptive imagery – in which words and images are brought to consciousness to explore and give information about symptoms, treatments, moods or illnesses
For some people who have never tried guided imagery, the idea of becoming deeply relaxed or getting into a trance-like state may seem frightening. Andrew Weil, M.D., founder of the Weil Foundation that supports integrative medicine through research and education, explains that creating mental images is nothing new. We’ve all experienced trance-like states in daily life such as when we daydream, read a book, or driving home on autopilot. Guided imagery takes this natural process a step further. What distinguishes guided imagery and other forms of hypnosis is that it involves a deliberate choice to enter this state of consciousness for a goal beyond relaxation: to focus your concentration and use suggestion to promote healing. A person in trance is always under control, just as someone who is daydreaming can decide to go on or stop at any time.
The Mayo Clinic has endorsed meditation techniques for stomach pain, and other stress-related problems. Here’s what they say about recommended meditation techniques and other anxiety reducing practices. you can read the original story here.
Meditation is an umbrella term for the many ways to a relaxed state of being. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. All share the same goal of achieving inner peace.
Ways to meditate can include:
Guided meditation. Sometimes called guided imagery or visualization, with this method of meditation you form mental images of places or situations you find relaxing. you try to use as many senses as possible, such as smells, sights, sounds and textures. you may be led through this process by a guide or teacher.
Mantra meditation. in this type of meditation, you silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase to prevent distracting thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation. this type of meditation is based on being mindful, or having an increased awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. you broaden your conscious awareness. you focus on what you experience during meditation, such as the flow of your breath. you can observe your thoughts and emotions but let them pass without judgment.
Qi gong. this practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance. Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Tai chi. this is a form of gentle Chinese martial arts. in tai chi (TIE-chee), you perform a self-paced series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.
Transcendental meditation. you use a mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase repeatedly silently, to narrow your conscious awareness and eliminate all thoughts from your mind. you focus exclusively on your mantra to achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness.
Yoga. you perform a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises to promote a more flexible body and a calm mind. as you move through poses that require balance and concentration, you’re encouraged to focus less on your busy day and more on the moment
These meditation techniques for stomach pain have the potential to change your life profoundly for the better.
Of course, please remember to check out any lasting pain with your doctor … meditation for pain relief MUST be preceded by good medical care.
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Stress has been listed as one of the major causative factors for preventable disease. it is known to set in to motion an unhealthy chain of events within the body, causing damage to health. just as damage can be derived from stress related illness, studies now show that the body can be healed through using techniques that calm the mind and body by evoking the relaxation response.
This response can be elicited through any of the practices listed under the focused relaxation umbrella such as yoga, tai chi, guided imagery, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation, just to scratch the surface. These techniques are being used to manage all kinds of pain, infertility, insomnia, and numerous health conditions.
Dr. Herbert Benson,who heads the Behavioral Medicine Section at new England Deaconess Hospital in Boston and who also teaches at Harvard Medical School, describes the phenomenon: What we have found is that when you evoke the relaxation response, the very genes that are turned on or off by stress are turned the other way. The mind can actively turn on and turn off genes. The mind is not separated from the body.
New studies are showing that relaxation techniques can actually improve health by changing the patterns of gene activity which affect how the body responds to stress. The positive effects were seen in the genetic analysis of both long-term and short-term users of such techniques. they showed changes in their cellular metabolism, response to oxidative stress and other processes. All of which may contribute to cellular damage from chronic stress.
While these positive outcomes from relaxation techniques were once thought to be all in the head of the user, Scientists are now starting to find more definitive proof that these techniques, that elicit a relaxation response, have a biofeedback mechanism that alters gene expression. this is the first research of its kind, showing the systemic changes produced through focused relaxation techniques.
The work of Dr. Herbert Benson has been ground breaking in the study of the effects of focused relaxation. He is the leading authority on matter. Dr. Benson’s work is part of a new scientific field of study called psychoneuroimmunology or PNI. it draws from psychology, immunology, neurology and other fields to investigate the interaction of mind and body.
In his book, The Relaxation Response, Dr. Benson discusses the actions of the fight or flight response and how, when repeatedly accessed, it can cause harm to the body. He notes, Our studies revealed the opposite was also true. The body is also imbued with what I termed the Relaxation Response – an inducible physiological state of quietude.
He goes on to discuss how the body is able to heal and rejuvenate itself through this process. In explanation he states, Regular elicitation of the Relaxation Response can prevent and compensate for, the damage incurred by frequent nervous reactions that pulse through our hearts and bodies. his research concludes that not only is this process good for health, but it can help to restore it.
In society today, where busyness and multitasking is the norm, it becomes even more important to understand the physical and mental toll that a fast paced lifestyle has on ones health and wellbeing. By understanding and taking measures to counteract the negative effects of stress, you can enhance and potentially prolong your life.
Focused relaxation is a tool that is easy to implement and one to consider as a way to improve personal wellness. Brilliant in its simplicity, many professionals are reluctant to consider it as a viable alternative for traditional treatment methods. However, as more research emerges, it is plausible that acceptance and use of focused relaxation will dramatically rise.
At the very least, regularly evoking the relaxation response allows users to find increased balance and peace. The healing effects that it yields are not just temporary boosts; they can substantially impact your systemic health, making it more resilient to future stressful encounters. this is Part four of a five-part series on the benefits of focused relaxation.