Guided imagery returns to the process of consciously using your imagination to create positive images, often called hearing visualizations, with the goal of bringing about healthy changes in both your body and mind.

Although guided imagery depends a lot on a person's visual sense, this relaxation and meditation technique actually makes use of or involves all of the senses. Each guided imagery exercise involves the whole body, emotions, and all the senses. This unique body-based focus, which is not a lot of meditation techniques can offer, gives users or followers a powerful impact.

This type of meditation can be used by almost anyone, regardless of age, sex, or race. Studies show that children and women have an easier time gaining mastery in this technique since they are naturally more imaginative. Compared to mindfulness meditation, guided imagery is easier to learn and practice since it requires less time and discipline than a practitioner.

Getting started in guided imagery though would normally require first-time users to gain mastery of some exercises. There are various guided imagery exercises that will be shared or taught to you by a psychotherapist or other licensed practitioners or you can download online. To fully optimize and make the most out of these exercises, follow the tips below:

• Your choice of imagery content has to be consistent with your values. As such, do not let other practitioners influence you with your choice of imagery, especially if they do not sit well with your values. Although it may take some time, let your personal images come up and work for you.

• Do not force yourself too hard. Seasoned practitioners say that guided imagery always works best in a permissive, relaxed, and unforced atmosphere. As such, try not to get too intense about getting it right immediately. Your level of efficiency and mastery will increase with time and practice. Whatever skill level you start with, you will improve with regular practice.

• Imagery is usually more powerful when you are in a group. This is large due to the contagious nature of the altered state. As such, if you are just starting, working with a support group, special study group, or healing group.

• When practicing this technique, do not forget to engage your other senses, particularly your kinesthetic or feeling and auditory or hearing or listening methods. Music, in particular, can increase the effects of imagery, especially if it is well-chosen.

• Avoid using negative verb forms if you will be using self-talk with your imagination. Practitioners say that the use of “bossy” language is not naturally encouraging and can marshal unnecessary resistance from your part.

• Lastly, keep in mind that imagination that can ericit emotion is generally more effective than imagery that does not. As such, do not feel embarrassed about feeling sad or even crying with certain imageries. Responding with some form of emotion is a positive sign that the imagery is working for you in a deep way.