Imagery can mean visualisation - using your imagination to form pictures in your mind. However, it can also include all the senses of sight, sound, taste smell and feel. Whilst most people are predominantly visual in their use of imagery, the most powerful and effective guided visualisation will incorporate elements from all the senses.
In self-hypnosis a mental image is often worth many pages of verbal suggestions. You can use your own memories and experiences to construct your own highly personal imagery to reinforce your suggestions for change.
The following exercises can be used to practice and develop your imagery skills;
There are two principal ways of using imagery to work towards a goal;
Process Imagery is the visualisation of the process or actions of achieving the goal you desire. For example, a golfer might imagine executing a perfect shot as he approaches the ball.
Result Imagery creates mental pictures of the goal or result as if it has already occurred. If you are giving a talk to colleagues, you might imagine yourself confidently delivering the speech, hear the applause and imagine the positive outcome of your successful presentation.
A 1967 study by stress researcher Edmund Jacobson found that visualising an activity produces small but measurable reactions in the muscles involved in the imagined activity. Repeated mental rehearsal implants the learned memory of a successful action, and also conditions the unconscious mind with the outcome you expect to achieve.
Suppose, for example, your goal is to lose weight. You could use result imagery to imagine yourself as the size and weight you want to be. Mentally picture yourself in the mirror looking trim and as thin as you wish, fitting neatly into the dress or suit size you want to achieve. Imagine the feeling of being your ideal weight. You may also use process imagery to imagine yourself eating smaller, healthier portions of food. You might picture yourself feeling full whilst leaving food still on your plate. These images will reinforce the positive processes you will go through to achieve your desired result.
Visualisation and imagination are closely related to the unconscious mind. In fact, imagery has been described as the language of the unconscious. The key to successful use of imagery is to be as creative and imaginative as you can. Use your own memories and experiences and fill your images with colours, sounds, aromas, textures and tastes to be as real and as absorbing as they can be. Keep your visualisations positive and personally appealing to be a powerful tool in self hypnosis.
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