What is Guided Imagery?
In short, it is a form of focused relaxation and amplified visualization. It is a method for creating your desired state of mind by truly imagining yourself in a "happy or peaceful place" (for me, it's the beach) whereby all of your senses are being activated (vision, touch, hearing, smell, and taste). Many of us have used some form of visualization at some time in our lives to help accomplish a goal (ex. Elite athletes use G.I. to "see and feel" themselves performing optimally; and research suggests that works. Our bodies react in similar fashions whether we are actually experiencing or just imagining a situation (reference: The Matrix). So, in essence, by mentally and emotionally "practicing or rehearsing" daily, we can create what we are imagining.
In this instructional video, Rachel who is a student from the Well-Being team at Cardiff University, does a great job of explaining this highly-effective holistic method for relaxation and overall mental/emotional health. Take a look.
When I was attempting to "make it to the pro's" in ice hockey, I was utilizing a multiple versions of this technique during my training sessions (without knowing that it was G.I.). It was accompanied by writing down my specific goals, posting them up all over my apartment, and reading them out loud daily. Part of my program included Tai Chi at the beach (where it truly was a form of guided meditation and visualization). To be honest, I did not know how or when I was going to make it to the big leagues, but I knew that I would my persistent efforts would not go to waste. The odds were stacked against me as I started ice skating when most are being scouted or drafted by the National Hockey League (NHL).
My dreams were so vivid that I was able to smell the ice, feel the exuberance of finally being a professional ice hockey player in rinks that I visited as a spectator, and hearing the crowds applause. I was even able to "see" the colors of the team jersey that I was a part of. Watching hours of video of my favorite players also helped develop my own skills by mimicking them; and reading about, then applying the training regimens of the best hockey players in the world- The Russian Red Army Team. In 5 years, I ended up making it to a minor league team that was affiliated with the St. Louis Blues
Thank you for reading this blog. My goal is always to Inspire, Motivate, and provide Hope. For any questions or comments, please contact me, Dr. Deniz Armagan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or my website at www.movement4life.org