What is guided imagery?
Guided imagery is a type of meditative practice. It involves the use of visualizations, words, or music to evoke positive images in your mind. This may help create desired effects in your body. For example, it may help calm or energize you. It may also help you release negative emotions and focus on positive thoughts.
Some people believe the practice of guided imagery may be helpful for treating depression.
How guided imagery works
During guided imagery, an instructor, audio recording, or other guide will direct you to focus on a specific image. This can help you enter a calm and focused state of mind. It will exercise the right side of your brain, which controls creativity, spatial abilities, and more. This can help relax your critical-thinking faculties, allowing your emotional senses to come to the fore.
Some proponents of guided imagery believe it can help alleviate symptoms of depression. It may help you combat negative thoughts and emotions. For example, alienation and loneliness are common feelings among people with depression. During guided imagery, you can visualize yourself surrounded by loved ones. This may help you feel less alienated or lonely.
Pros of guided imagery
Guided imagery may help you feel more calm and focused. It may help relieve symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, stress, and anxiety. It may help you manage everyday stress that has the potential to grow into something larger if left unchecked.
Guided imagery sessions can be brief. This makes them easy to incorporate into hectic schedules.
Cons of guided imagery
There’s little clinical research to support the efficacy of guided imagery for treating depression. While it might have benefits for your well-being, it isn’t a suitable replacement for more conventional treatments for depression. For example, you shouldn’t use it to replace medication or psychotherapy.
Talk to your doctor before using guided imagery to treat depression. They may advise you to combine it with other treatments.
What the experts say
According to Dr. Mason Turner, Chief of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, guided imagery falls under the same umbrella as meditation. In some cases, it may bring up difficult images or emotions.
“It is powerful because it can unlock hidden psychological problems that can lead to depression,” Dr. Turner explained. “It has to be used with some care.”
Before trying guided imagery, talk to your doctor or mental health specialist. Ask them about the potential benefits and risks of adding it to your treatment plan.