Mindfulness and Guided Imagery for Anxiety and Depression
Your mind is one of the most powerful tools in the world. It has the ability to help you see what is in front of you and provides a better understanding of who you are.
This is also the spot whereÂ youÂ begin to feel thoughts of depression, anxiety, and fear. To help you redirect these thoughts, many have turned over the past few decades to mindfulness and guided imagery techniques that we discuss below.
What is the difference between Mindfulness and Guided Imagery?
While the two processes are very similar, a few key differences exist.
First,Â mindfulness is when you relax your body to remove the negative thoughts through a deepened state of relaxation.
Through this process, you become mindful of the here and now. By being mindful of the moment, you can understand the effect that negative thoughts have on you.
Guided imagery uses the same meditative like techniques, but encourages you to focus on your breathing and a peaceful image.
How to practice Mindfulness
The idea behind mindfulness is that we all have a monkey brain that constantly jumps from idea to idea. By practicing mindfulness, we can embrace the moment.
To be mindful of the moment, find a comfortable location where you can sit or lie down without interruptions. Close your eyes and focus on what you want to improve in your life. Visualize what you see this process and result looking like.
For example, in the mindfulness meditation below, you have the opportunity to use a beautiful setting to be aware of your thoughts in the moment.
When your mind begins to shift, bring it back to your goal. Take deep breaths through your abdomen, hold it, and then exhale slowly.
How to practice Guided Imagery
As we discussed earlier, Guided imagery relies upon focusing on the images you want for your future as a recording plays with specific scripts.
Just like mindfulness, you need to find a quiet place to meditate and a specific goal.
However, during the meditation you also should use one of the many scripts to continually replay affirmations like:
- I accept this body I am in. (body image)
- I value myself as a person. (self-esteem)
- I have the power to control my reactions. (anger management)
The video below from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) demonstrates the power of a good guided imagery meditation.
Final Thoughts on Mindfulness and Guided Imagery
If you are anxious or depressed, then using both of these meditative techniques can help you calm the negative thoughts that do not serve your greatest good. For those who need help with improving the value of these techniques, feel free to contact my office at 847-824-8366.