Guided imagery is a simple and highly effective relaxation technique that prompts you to imagine meaningful images to help achieve a particular goal, which may be as straightforward as alleviating anxiety and stress. The script typically contains soothing music or sounds and its images can range from soothing ocean scenes to cozy couches, depending on the script and the overall goal you want to achieve.
Main imagery experience. The middle stage of the process uses imagery related to the particular goal of the exercise.
A guided imagery session can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more, although anxious kids and younger children may do best with a stint that lasts about 3 to 5 minutes, at least for starters. Meditation is also a relaxation technique but, instead of following a guide of sorts, you instead focus on your breath, a rock, or whatever you choose. Both meditation and guided imagery can help alleviate stress and anxiety, although imagery takes some of the challenge of trying to quiet the mind by giving you something to think about.
Guided imagery gets another plug for being able to skip over the logical brain’s natural defenses and go right the intuitive part of the brain, allowing kids to speak from their hearts. In addition to beating adult and child anxiety, guided imagery has been helpful for quelling fears, getting through difficult situations and quashing insomnia. Researchers have definitely hopped on the guided imagery bandwagon, presenting a slew of studies that suggest it can be golden for a number of issues and conditions.


A study out of University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Department of Medicine checked out the affect of guided imagery on 22 people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or panic disorder.
Children’s abdominal pain took a hike with guided imagery in a study entitled published in Pediatrics.
The conclusion was that imagery coupled with medical care was “superior to standard medical care only for the treatment of abdominal pain, and treatment effects were sustained over a long period.” The GI group also had a higher rate of participation in their overall treatment plans than those who received medical care alone. Cancer patient studies included one out of Virginia that showed that imagery reduced anxiety prior to operations and reduced pain after them. Six months may be a notable amount of time to continue to reap the benefits of imagery after the experience, but four separate studies found the benefits can extend up to a full six years. Numerous studies also showed guided imagery results in psychological and physiological changes in the body.
Encourage him to discuss his experience, or have paper and a pen or pencil on hand so he can write about or draw images of what he just felt, saw, heard and otherwise experienced in his perfect place. Guided imagery can take you up staircases into the clouds, down staircases and back to reality, or on a wonderful, winding walk that takes you far from your daily worries and woes. If the goal is to provide a sense of calm, for instance, you can use calming images of the beach or warm bed.


Our mindfulness guide offers a more extended explanation of meditation, and you could look at guided imagery for kids or adults as a type of meditation, or being meditation-based. The study specific looked at 34 children diagnosed with functional abdominal pain, assigning a group of the 6 to 15-year-olds to two months of home-based guided imagery on top of their regular medical care. The Huffington Post reports patients who engaged in guided imagery generally had shorter hospital stays, a decreased need for pain medication and less severe somatic symptoms, such as vomiting. Trying a bit of imagery on your own before passing it along to your anxious child is a good idea, as is explaining the purpose and process of guided imagery. Not only does guided imagery, or GI, take you far away from the cacophony of daily life, it can take you just as far away from the worries in your brain while offering a host of benefits, especially for the anxious child. Instead of telling kids to “clear their minds,” their minds instantly become focused on the guide. Anxious children with learning disabilities can benefit from imagery, as can adults and teens suffering from addictions.



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