If you ever wanted a simple and effective way to feel better — mentally, physically, and spiritually — this is the book to read. Staying Well With Guided Imagery is an easy to understand, step-by-step guide to using your imagination to maintain health. Well organized, this book explains what imagery is, how and why it works, and under what conditions it works best. Written by Belleruth Naparstek in 1995, Guided Imagery is still a relevant and useful tool for influencing your own well-being.
Naparstek explains guided imagery as “a kind of directed daydreaming” — utilizing the imagination to help the mind and body to heal, stay strong, and be well. She emphasizes that the mind and body are not separate from each other, but rather one and the same. By being in a relaxed, altered state one can purposefully create positive sensory images to do everything from lower blood pressure to boost self-esteem. Images include more than just visuals — all sensory impressions are utilized: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
Naparstek begins by discussing her work, and the work of others, that led to this field of study. A psychotherapist, she provides the medical and psychological explanations behind guided imagery without the technical jargon. Here she also offers tips and advice for using visualization to achieve optimal benefits.
Chapter two explains the eight different kinds of effective imagery for health. They are: Feeling-State —geared to alter your mood End-State — for imagining yourself already in the desired condition or circumstance Energetic — to make use of free-flowing energy (chi) through the body Cellular — for utilizing the body’s cells to bolster and protect the immune system Physiological — to engage physical processes of the body Metaphoric — to encourage right-brain/creative activation Psychological — aimed at connecting with and/or releasing certain emotions, Spiritual — to obtain direct connection to spirit/Divine
Chapter three is an extensive section that provides detailed narratives for implementing each type of imagery. They are designed so that you can have someone read to you or to record yourself. Recorded tapes are also available for purchase. These exercises are relatively brief, ranging from about eight to fourteen minutes, making it relatively easy to incorporate them daily. Examples include Favorite Place, Peak Performance, Immune Cell, and Cardiovascular to name a few. Each type of visualization can be used exclusively, or in combination, for an intended outcome.
Chapter four provides additional exercises for specifically fostering and maintaining mental health, including using imagery to connect with and tolerate feelings, alleviate depression, and encourage self-esteem. Chapter five provides guided imagery scripts for alleviating common physical ailments such as headache, pain, allergies, insomnia, and fatigue. If you still have questions, the author conveniently provides FAQs in chapter six. She also lists resources to find tapes, workshops, experts, and additional books for further information. A website with updated information and products is now available, though not listed in the book, at www.healthjourneys.com.
Staying Well With Guided Imagery is a timeless resource for intentionally using your imagination to help you heal mind, body and spirit.
Donna Baker Church is a freelance writer and editor.
For more information visit www.healthjourneys.com