Welcome to this introduction to guided imagery. Below are guided imagery recordings recorded by Kevin Berrill, Clinical Social Worker at Ann's Place. Kevin also offers a helpful introduction to guided imagery that includes links to even more online recordings.
Please do not listen to these recordings if you are driving or engaged in any other activity that requires your full attention.
GUIDED IMAGERY: AN INTRODUCTION – by Kevin Berrill, LCSW
Guided imagery refers to a variety of gentle but powerful techniques, including visualization and sensory experiencing, to help you, the listener, feel greater calm ease, as well as relief from physical distress. In addition to soothing and relaxing, guided imagery has the potential to expand our consciousness and to tap into our imagination, intuition, and creativity. It can also positively impact performance in work, athletic activities, and other pursuits. According to research, guided imagery can be help to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce glucose levels, strengthen the immune system, and aid with sleep. In cancer, it has been shown to decrease the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, including fatigue, nausea, and pain.
Guided imagery is not a substitute for standard medical care but, when utilized skillfully, it can complement any treatment, including treatment for cancer and other conditions. Through guided imagery, our imagination can communicate with our bodies in a way that facilitates natural healing processes. For example, if the mind imagines a relaxing experience, the body will respond by releasing healthy hormones and other biochemicals.
Guided imagery is considered safe, although it can cause sleepiness. Please do not listen to these recordings if you are driving or engaged in any other activity that requires your full attention. Twitching or restlessness may arise, which is normal, especially if you are unwinding from pain or stress. It is very common for our minds to wander when listening to guided imagery. That’s not a problem; indeed, we can benefit from guided imagery even when we are not consciously listening. If you notice that your attention has wavered, simply bring it back to the sound of the narration.
Some guided imagery recordings may elicit certain emotions in you. If that is the case, simply allow yourself to experience the feelings and let them arise and pass away. However, if you any of the imagery is upsetting to you, we recommend you discontinue listening to it.
Some guided imagery recordings offer specific images for you to follow. Others are general enough to let you create your own sensations and experiences. You may want to listen to multiple recordings to get a sense of what is most beneficial to you. Repeated listening to a single recording may enhance its effectiveness.
Not everyone responds to guided imagery. If you find that it isn’t helpful, you may want to explore other ways to relax and let go, such as mindful breathing or walking, yoga, exercise, or some type of creative expression.
The recordings posted on the Ann’s Place website are relatively brief in length, so feel free to pause the recording you are listening to, relax and enjoy the imagery that comes to mind, and then resume the recording when you want to continue the journey.
I hope you enjoy and benefit from listening to the guided imagery recordings on this website and elsewhere online. To aid in your exploration, I’ve posted below some links to recordings:
- The Gathering Place recorded guided meditations
- Rogel Cancer Center Guided Imagery Audio Library
- Fragrant Heart Guided Meditation Audio
- Health Journeys: Video on Guided Imagery for Stress Reduction
- Video-Calming Your Stress and Anxiety by Lovingmeditations.com: This is a free 13-minute video that walks you through calming exercises. It invites you you to register with your first name and email before accessing the video. If you prefer not to give your name and email, just click on “No Thanks! Take me to the video.”
- Meditation Videos by Lovingmeditations.com: This site has some very nice breathing and meditation video/audio files for free. They also sell a premium account to give access to more videos, which are all clearly marked.