You might already know that meditating regularly helps you to feel relaxed and it offers health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure.
But healing meditation is said to achieve even more. What, exactly, is healing meditation?
While any type of meditation can be healing, meditation that includes guided imagery is especially useful.
There are many different types of meditation, but healing meditation is one that targets chronic pain while helping you to achieve greater mental health. Let’s explore it and see how it works.
What Is Guided Imagery?
Guided imagery is basically when you think of mental pictures according to another person’s instructions.
So, for example, if you’re suffering from cancer, you might be asked to imagine your body fighting and eliminating the cancer cells in your body, and this can help your body to heal.
There are many ways in which to use guided imagery, and you don’t need a meditation expert to help you. You could make use of healing meditation resources, such as books or YouTube videos, or you could even create your own healing images.
This is where guided imagery becomes fun because you get to control exactly how it occurs and what you visualize, although it can be good to make use of resources when you begin if you don’t have any idea of how to start with guided imagery.
Ready? Here’s How To Try Guided Imagery
Now that you know a bit more about guided imagery, here’s how to get started with your healing meditation.
1. Make sure you turn off all devices that might distract you during your meditation session.
2. Dim the lights and get comfortable. You could sit on a chair that has a straight back if that feels comfortable. Make sure you keep your knees bent at a right angle and place your hands on your thighs. Or, sit on the floor, such as in the lotus position. There are many ways in which you can do meditation, so the key is to find the position that feels right for you.
3. To help you in your visualization, you can chant a mantra. This can even be one word, such as “om” or “calm.”
4. You can close your eyes or stare at a focal point.
Note: It might help you to start with a shorter meditation session to help you and then increase the duration of your daily meditations as you become more comfortable. Tips To Enhance Your Guided Imagery
When getting started with guided imagery meditation, there are some good tips to bear in mind as these will help you.
– Make sure you do meditation in a quiet area that’s free of disruptions.
– Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
– Don’t worry too much about how you’re doing. Just relax and let the process happen naturally.
– Use resources to help you find it easier to imagine peaceful, serene settings. For example, you could look at images of nature on the internet or sit in a peaceful spot in the garden.
How Meditation Heals Your Body
There are various ways in which your body can be healed by meditation.
- It has a calming effect on your head and heart. Since meditation relaxes you, it decreases your blood pressure, heart rate, and brain waves. This is why you feel calmer. Lower blood pressure and heart rate can also help you to avoid health problems, such as heart disease.
- It boosts your mental ability. Research as shown that when Buddhist monks were studied, it was found that their meditation managed to produce long-term changes in the brain areas that are involved in tasks such as learning, conscious perception, and attention.
- It decreases stress. A study of mindfulness-based stress reduction found that meditation causes less brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain where anxiety, stress, and fear occur.
- It improves your sleep. In a study, when older adults made use of mindfulness that included guided imagery, they improved their sleep quality. The researchers found that this was as a result of how the body better responded to stress so that it was easier for people to relax and sleep.
- It reduces your pain. Meditation has been found by various studies to decrease the pain you experience. In a 2019 study, when people who had cancer made use of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, this helped to reduce their pain. In another study, researchers found that when women who had fibromyalgia meditated, not only did they experience less pain but also less fatigue and stress.
- It can lower depression. Guided meditation, and meditation in general, isn’t just valuable to decrease stress and anxiety but depression too. Various scientific studies back this up. In one study, just one week of daily guided imagery helped participants who had cancer to experience less depressive symptoms.
How Long Should You Spend Doing Guided Imagery?
If you want to make the most of guided imagery for its various health benefits, you might wonder what the best amount of time is that you should dedicate to the practice.
While any amount of meditation is useful to do, ideally you should aim for between 15 and 20 minutes of guided imagery meditation in order to reap the most benefits.
However, the amount of time that you take to become deeply relaxed is important. If you can get into that state in less time, then you can benefit from shorter amounts of time dedicated to guided imagery and meditation.
Where Should You Meditate?
The location you choose in which to meditate might be something you spend a bit of time thinking about, but you don’t have to worry about it too much.
It’s really about your state of mind when you meditate, much more than where you are physically in the world. You could be sitting on the floor in your living room or anywhere else. It doesn’t matter.
You don’t have to worry too much about dimming the lights and ensuring that there are no noises in your surroundings. This is because if you try to make your meditation session too perfect, this could cause you stress and it will be more difficult to maintain this level of perfection on a daily basis.
Rather work with what you’ve got at your disposal. It’s still more beneficial to choose shorter meditation sessions that you can do wherever you are, no matter how busy you are, instead of trying too hard to find half an hour or an hour in which you can be in a quiet, super-relaxing place that’s just not practical.
Visualization To Add To Your Meditation Sessions
If you’re not quite sure how to add visualization and imagery to your daily meditation sessions, here are some tips to help you get started.
Sometimes it helps to imagine a color during visualization.
- Start your meditation session by becoming comfortable, closing your eyes, and breathing slowly. Focus on taking deep breaths.
- Visualize a color and continue breathing in slowly while keeping that color in your thoughts. Imagine what that color means and symbolizes for you.
- When you inhale, imagine the color washing over your body from your head to your toes.
- Continue breathing as you imagine the color filling up your entire body.
- Now, imagine unwanted emotions being released out of your body with every exhale. Replace them with the color when you inhale.
You can do this visualization for as long as you like. What’s great about it is that you can do it even if you just have one or two minutes to spare, such as when waiting for the kids to come out of school or for a work meeting to start.
Happy Place Visualization
This is the type of meditation people usually think of when they talk about healing meditation. It basically involves imagining positive, happy scenes and images in your mind.
While that sounds simple, it might not always feel easy to access, so here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Start by getting into a position that feels comfortable for you during meditation.
2. Close your eyes and slow down your breathing so that it has a calm, soothing rhythm.
3. Imagine a place that always makes you feel happy and calm. This could be a place you’ve been to in your life, or it could be a completely new and imagined place.
4. Make use of your five senses so that you can bring this image to life. What do you hear, smell, taste, hear, and see? For example, if you’re in a forest, you might see the light streaming through the trees and the blue sky, you might hear the sounds of birds chirping, and you might feel the soft breeze against your skin.
5. See yourself moving forward into the image. You will feel more relaxed and serene as the image becomes more real in your mind.
6. You want to keep your breathing slow as you absorb the scene in your mind.
7. Then, as you take in a breath, imagine peace entering your body.
8. See the tension and stress leaving your body when you exhale.
When you feel you’ve been in the scene for long enough, you can leave it. What’s great about this type of visualization is that you now have a place in your mind where you can always go to feel relaxed and happy, no matter what is happening in your life.
How is guided imagery so useful for pain management?
Guided imagery essentially takes our focus off our pain and puts it in positive images. This encourages relaxation, reduces stress, and lowers tension in the muscles.
How long does it take for guided imagery to work?
You should see positive results in about two to three weeks of regular guided imagery. It’s useful to record your experiences to see how well you’re progressing.
If you want to start healing your body, you should try meditation.
In this article, we’ve looked at how meditation can heal your body and mind, as well as how you can take advantage of its healing benefits. Any meditation can be healing for your mind and body, but focusing on imagery can be a powerful way to enhance its effects.
To help you get started, we’ve provided you with some meditation examples that are easy to use in your life, whether you have five or 50 minutes to spare for your daily meditation.