Rewire Your Brain for Stress Reduction
with Guided Imagery Meditation
: I AM Blog #3 : August 2017 :
One of my dearest friends, Lydia, who works for a very large corporation in Houston recently asked for some tips on how to use guided imagery techniques at work when certain situations arose that have more and more been sending her into stress and tension overload. Her company has been downsizing and sending out constant reminders that if her sales quotas are not met in the immediate future she may be out of a job.
This is causing her to feel pressured and her entire body to feel high anxiety. Her health and family life are suffering on so many fronts she is feeling more and more out of control.
What my friend needed was a distraction to redirect her attention away from the stressful situation facing her and towards an alternate focus.
The technique of guided imagery is in essence a non-verbal instruction or direct suggestion to the body and unconscious mind to act as though the peaceful, safe and beautiful environment is real. Scenes in the mind can become a learned cue or trigger that helps recall memories and sensations resulting from past relaxation practice.
As reported by Deane Alban in her article, The Power of Guided Mediation for Anxiety Relief, “Meditation rewires your brain to be more focused on the present instead of worrying about the future and ruminating about the past. And by so doing, you are essentially training your brain to be less anxious.”
Lydia and I decided to figure out a way for her to detach from the fixation on the contents of her mind and instead disappear for a short while to release stress and come back with the clarity to apply her once more to the pressing issues at hand.
Her first priorities were to:
Find a private calm space and make yourself comfortable.
Take a few very slow cleansing breaths to center and calm yourself.
Close her eyes.
Imagine walking in your own distinct and beautiful environment.
This is where our previous sessions were invaluable. Lydia usually asked we go to the forest where she used to walk as a child with her German Shepherd named Bear.
Focus on the different sensory attributes present in the scene so as to make it more vivid.
For instance, the sound of a stream to her left, birds high up in the branches of the trees around her and other sounds of the forest. The more you can invoke your senses, the more vivid the entire image will become.
Remain in your scene, moving through the sensory aspects, touching the bark on the trees, picking flowers etc. for about five to ten minutes until your heartbeat is regulated and you feel relaxed.
Know that you can return to this scene whenever you need to.
Having a plan of action-helped calm my friend and she used it the next day before going in to a meeting with her Board of Directors. Lydia’s place of refuge was out in her car in a covered parking lot where she was able to use the visualization and have the clarity she needed before going back to her meeting.
Afterwards Lydia reported that she was able to disconnect from the feelings of anxiety she had going in and was able to have full focus on what she needed to discuss with her Board. She also reported that whatever happened would happen and as long as she was doing her best, then that was all that mattered.
She felt calm and at peace.
~ Elizabeth Garrison
Dare to Dream: Setting Your Intention – from Heart to Head
IAM Blog Post #2 : June 2017
What an exciting time each one of us is having during our Dare to Dream Series. What a privilege and a true honor it is for me to facilitate these sessions.
During our Guided Imagery, the group is setting an intention. They are realizing that whatever comes up in their lives, appears so it can be healed.
There have been several realizations come to each person as they have begun the process of contemplating their lives and deciding it is time for change. How exciting it has been as each person has returned after a week, reporting with pride, their small changes, like walking every day or having taken the steps to move forward in their process of finding a new home. Another precious Soul said that when time is flying by she realizes she is in her bliss. I have such gratitude that people are wishing to move forward and make changes in the framework of their lives.
Their changes and INTENTIONS are impacting their lives.
These dreams, together with the collective support for and with each other, is energizing. Each person seems willing to see things differently and pay attention to LIFE and show up and LIVE THEIR LIVES. So, I guess what I am saying is that people are finding their passion and bringing passion to everything they do.
They are moving outside of themselves and creating their purpose and thinking from their Hearts to their Heads.
~ Elizabeth Garrison
CREATING A PERSONAL MEDITATION SPACE
Elizabeth Garrison, Guided Imagery Meditation Specialist
When you decide to bring the art of meditation into your life, what would you say about designing a comfortable, relaxed space to read, meditate and simply be?
Whatever your circumstances, you deserve a small space on this Earth to call your own. If you have ever watched a cat find a warm space in the sun and curl up, this is true relaxation.
~ Here are a few suggestions for you to create this special space:
- A favorite chair – something extremely comfortable
- 2 blankets or throws to wrap up in
- Cushions – as colorful and as plush as you wish
- A painting that has always given you a sense of peace
- Use a fan to shut out noise if you wish
- Candles – make sure they are beautifully fragrant
- Small statue (if you wish)
- Lavender spray or some incense which relaxes you
- A pretty bowl of stones
- Anything to make your space feel cozy.
Try to use this space as much as possible as your own special Meditation Space.
When you sit in your chair, your body will know it is time for contemplation or Meditation.
~ Elizabeth Garrison
www.artofliving.org Why children need to meditate.