Guided Imagery & Meditation Tips & Techniques, for Users and Practitioners
Here are some general facts and user-friendly tips about how to best use guided imagery, and what to expect from it.
- Your skill and efficiency will increase with practice. Guided imagery functions in a way that is the opposite of addictive substances: the more you use it, the less you need for it to work.
- Imagery works best in a permissive, relaxed, unforced atmosphere. Don’t worry about "doing it right". There are many ways to do it right.
- Your choice of imagery content needs to be congruent with your values, so don’t try to impose imagery on yourself that doesn’t sit right with you, just because you think you should. There are many ways to do this, so find your way.
- It’s best to engage all the senses, especially your kinesthetic or feeling sense.
- Imagery is generally more powerful in a group setting, mainly due to the contagious nature of the altered state. So a support group, study group, class or healing group is great way to start.
- Music, when properly chosen, will increase the effects of imagery. You will intuitively know what music is right for what you need. A small percentage of people prefer no music at all.
- Imagery that elicits emotion is generally more effective than imagery that doesn’t. Responding with emotion is a good sign that the imagery is working for you in a deep way.
- If you're using self-talk with your imagery, try to avoid the imperative verb form on yourself, so that inadvertently "bossy" language doesn't marshal unnecessary resistance and interfere with your ability to respond.
- You do not have to be a "believer" for it to work. Positive expectancy helps, but even a skeptical willingness to give it a try is enough.
- Touch is a powerful accompaniment to your guided meditation. It will both help with relaxation and receptivity, and increase the kinesthetic impact of the images. Imagery combined with therapeutic massage, Therapeutic Touch, or even the placement of your own hand on your belly is very potent.
- Using the same posture cues, gestures or hand-positioning with each mind-body meditation session creates an "anchor" that conditions you to respond immediately to the posture. You condition yourself to relax and heal at will.
- If you aren’t used to being both relaxed and awake at the same time, you are likely to drop off to sleep during a session. If you want to stay awake, you might try sitting up, standing against a wall, walking or listening with your eyes half-open.
- Even asleep, you’ll benefit from repeated listening, as demonstrated in test results with sleeping diabetics and unconscious surgery patients.
- Don’t worry if you space out or lose track of a guided imagery narrative. You’re not listening wrong – a wandering mind comes with the territory.
- You may tear up, get a runny nose, cough, yawn, feel heaviness in your limbs, get tingling along the top of their scalp or in your hands and feet, or experience minor, involuntary muscle-twitches. These are normal responses.
- Other strong responses to guided imagery are unusual stillness, increased coloring in the face, and an ironing out of lines and wrinkles. The voice will be deeper and lower afterward, and breathing slower and more relaxed.
- Often after an imagery meditation, aches and pains are gone.