Sometimes, it is referred to simply as, "we are what we think". Think about times when you might have an emotion - like being a little frightened when you hear a noise in the dark. Think of how easy it is let yourself get carried away with your imagination and go from being cautious to outright afraid.... or how when thinking about how cold it is, to being frigid....
Well, the mind can also be used to have a positive effect on the body.
The Science Behind Visualization:
Whenever a thought happens in your "mind" there is a corresponding chemical reaction in your body. The hypothalamus (in the brain) transforms emotions into physical reactions. It also controls appetite, blood sugar levels, heart & lung functions, hormone levels, digestive and circulatory systems. This process affects the immune system.
Negative thoughts and emotions lower the immune system.
Positive thoughts boost the immune system.
Visualization is similar to meditation, similar to praying.
Visualization has goals.... they can be as simple as taking a minute to clear your head, to calming yourself, to healing yourself.
Visualization can be done anywhere at anytime that is appropriate.
Visualization can involve chanting, singing or just plain thinking.... there is no wrong way to visualize.
Basically, in order to practice visualization, there should be the following:
- clear thought or goal - (as small and simple as you want or as large and complex)
- specific (no cluttered thought)
- faith (your belief that your goal is achievable)
- persistence (visualize regularly)
- relaxation (even for a short time)
Once you are relaxed, start your visualization. Close your eyes and imagine your goal... If your goal is healing, imagine a healthy body or body part. Picture your body healing, feel the healing take place, BELIEVE that the healing is taking place.
If your goal is to heal something within the body, something you have not seen, then be creative -- picture healthy oxygenated blood flowing through your body. Imagine a beautiful place.
This part of visualization can be assisted with reading scripture (if that helps you) or poetry. Visualization boosts your immunity and helps you boost your body back to health.
Some people use images or symbols -- when I was in labor with Ashley, the midwife hung up a picture that I brought with me that helped me to focus and dull the pain. Some people find this to be helpful and use symbols - circle, star, triangle. That is up to you....
Personally, I find visualization to be most effective for me right before I go to sleep and soon after I wake up. I like to lay in bed before the day begins and spend a few moments visualizing my goals. I find that this mind-body connection is very powerful.