A picture is worth a thousand words.
We have heard that saying before. This phrase is certainly true in the case of visualization. Visualization, a form of self-hypnosis, is a tool anyone can use to help foster healing. By providing positive pictures (creative imagery) and self-suggestion, visualization can change emotions that subsequently have a physical effect on the body.
Our belief system is based upon the accumulation of verbal and non-verbal suggestions that have been gathered throughout our life experience. Through patterns of repetition and its associated rewards and punishment we learn to create our own perception of reality. In essence, we therefore become what we think. In healing, repetitive use of positive visualization allows access to the mind-body connection. This lets the mind and body work together to foster the healing process of the body on a physical level. What is the mind-body connection and how does it work? When we have an emotion it generates a feeling that turns into a physical sensation.
For example: You are watching a horror movie, you feel frightened and then get a chill up your spine. In this case you were getting a negative suggestion through your sensory perception (sight and sound), that produced an emotion of fear which turned into the physical sensation of chills up your spine. Visualization uses positive images to produce positive emotions that manifest into positive physical sensations in the body.
Do Our Thoughts Have an Effect on Healing?
Sounds simple, but does it work? Can what we think actually have an effect on healing? Bodies do react to the thoughts you make. Our psychological/emotional state affects the endocrine system. For example, the emotion of fear is related to adrenaline. If no feeling of fear exists there is no adrenaline and the same applies in reverse- no adrenaline, no fear. They work in relationship to each other. Wherever a thought goes there is a body chemical reaction.
The hypothalamus, the emotional center of the brain, transforms emotions into physical response. The receptor of neuropeptides, the hypothalamus also controls the body's appetite, blood sugar levels, body temperature, adrenal and pituitary glands, heart, lung, digestive and circulatory systems.
Neuropeptides, the chemical messenger hormones, carry emotions back and forth between the mind and body. They link perception in the brain to the body via organs, hormones and cellular activity. Neuropeptides influence every major section of the immune system, so the body and mind do work together as one unit.
The brain is a highly efficient system that is connected to every cell in your body by billions of connections. It is divided into two sides a) the left, logical side (words, logic, rational thought) and b) right creative side (imagination and intuition). Day-to-day circumstances usually are met in a logical, left brain mode; however by yielding to the right, creative side of the brain we actually restore balance in the brain. This allows access to the mind-body connection to achieve what you want. The right side of the brain automatically steers you to your goal. It totally accepts what you want to accomplish without giving an opinion and acts upon it without judgement. That is why visualization targets the right, creative side of the brain and not the left, logical side.
Positive thought is essential to producing positive results. Negative thoughts and emotions lower the immune system, while positive thought and emotions actually boost the immune system. To maximize success of visualization as a support to the healing process, the following suggestions are offered:
Define Your Specific IntentionVisualization puts your intention of what you want to work. The more specific the intention, the more specific the results. Remember whatever you believe is what your body will do. So when you are thinking of your intention make sure it is:
- You feel, know, and trust it is being accomplished
Trying to do visualization without taking responsibility will prove to be futile experience. To accomplish what you want you must take action and responsibility. Visualization usually takes about 6 weeks to work. It is done once in the morning and before bedtime. Some people do see or feel results the very first time but remember everyoneís body and mind are different and so is the way they process information so have patience. Responsibility is:
- Be accountable to and for yourself
- Make a commitment
- Do visualization regularly
- Be persistent and patient
- Keep positive
A relaxed state puts allows you direct access to your subconscious mind. Here are some steps to help you relax:
- Find a quiet place.
- Relax in a favorite chair or lie down.
- Get comfortable and loosen clothing.
- Uncross your arms and legs.
- Get centered by focusing on the breath and breathing (this activates the vagus nerve which is the major quieting nerve in the body).
- Totally relax your body and mind.
Visualization for healing is a simple process. Once you are relaxed the next step is to actualize your visualiztion.
- Think of or speak your intention out loud.
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the healing process or as you want to be.
- Watch as your body heals you.
- Feel the healing taking place.
- Know the healing is being accomplished/
- Try creative imagery:
- Visualize the cells in your body healing you.
- Imagine your immune system fighting off invaders.
- Visualize your pain being taken away by healing mud.
- Imagine yourself in a very beautiful place whole, healthy and happy.
- Try reading scripts from a visualization or self-hypnosis book.
- Try scripting your own guided meditation tape using your voice.
Visualization does work to help boost your body back to health. Don't just work on the body, add the mind to maximize your healing process with visualization.