Helping College Students Succeed With Guided Imagery

A few years ago, Laureen Campana, RN, MPH, NP, then President-Elect of HSACCC (the Health Services Association of the California Community College system), and coordinator of student health at Columbia College, approached me after a session of guided imagery training I’d given at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine’s post-doc fellowship program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Part of my talk showed the research on how guided imagery and meditation were associated with significantly reduced stress, anxiety, depression; and improved sleep, concentration, and performance.

Many of the studies were done with college and university students (they’re sitting ducks for investigators, as we all know).

Laureen had an idea.

She explained that CCC had 2.1 million students, ages 16 to 90, many of them stressed and overloaded with multiple responsibilities and challenges, and that the 91 colleges in the system had limited mental health staff to provide support or counseling.  

She was looking for any resources that could extend their therapeutic reach and impact – in other words, help more students, and for not too much money. She’d seen the customized streaming page we’d created for Kaiser Permanente members nationwide, offering 20 guided imagery meditations, 24/7, and decided she wanted something like that for her students….

She explained that a recent survey by the National College Health Assessment group showed that the top barriers to students’ academic success were:

  • Stress (28.8%)
  • Work Demands (20.5%)
  • Sleep Insufficiency (19.5%)
  • Anxiety (18.3%)
  • Colds/Flu (14.5%)
  • Depression (13.5%)

Additional factors were...

  • Posttraumatic Stress
  • Learning Disabilities, Concentration Issues
  • Test & Performance Anxiety

She thought a streaming page of guided imagery that could be available to students 24/7 on smartphones, from links on the CCC website and internal learning platforms could be just the ticket.

Over the next year, she managed to get a grant from the Chancellor’s Office and started a streaming page of guided imagery for the students.

Since then the pages got tweaked and improved, based on student feedback. Individual colleges have adopted these pages, and it’s linked to the students’ daily learning platform.

Here are some of the guided meditations that proved to be so useful:

  1. Healthful Sleep
  2. Relieve Stress
  3. Anxiety & Panic
  4. Concentration, Focus & Learning
  5. Stop Beating Yourself Up - Bodhipaksa
  6. Procrastination – Traci Stein
  7. Relieve Depression
  8. Breathe to Beat the Blues – Amy Weintraub
  9. 10-Minute Stress Manager – Emmett Miller
  10. Self-Confidence & Peak Performance
  11. Mindfulness Meditations for Teens - Bodhipaksa
  12. Let My Words Be Your Words – Francoise Adan
  13. Mindfulness Meditations - Traci Stein
  14. Healthy Immune System
  15. Healing Trauma

Over the last couple of years we've made a bunch of these pages for colleges and universities of all sizes. These meditatons have been used thousands of times by students right when they need them. Take a look and see which apply best to your college student.


All best,


P.S. And, if you’re interested in a streaming page for your school, college or university, contact Emily at: [email protected]