How to Relieve Holiday Stress – Using the Power of Guided Imagery to Truly Savor the Season

By Glenda Cedarleaf –

The holidays are a bittersweet time of year for many of us:

How do we cope with unwanted memories and experiences that bring disappointment, pain, and confusion?

Deep within all of us is a powerful resource for accessing the relaxation and joy that we all hope for – yet often find difficult to reach, especially during the holidays.

Guided imagery is a safe and powerful way to involve the mind/ body/spirit in a process of relaxing, visualizing and opening to healing insights and resources.

Guided imagery brings you into a relaxed but alert and focused state from which you use your imagination to connect with your senses. Through such modalities as metaphors, memories, music and inspiring words-you create or recreate a new frame of reference for dealing with your challenges… and moving on.

Perhaps you are wondering if you can successfully use this technique – if you have ever worried in your life, then you are already practicing guided imagery because worrying is a form of imagery!

Dr. Wayne Dyer says that we wonder why we wake up anxious when we go to bed “marinating” on the thoughts and feelings that are most disturbing to us. Just as you can fall asleep to a TV show and feeling agitated all night dreaming about disturbing images you just experienced, you can also fall asleep listening to guided imagery and “download” your mind with healing images, positive outcomes, soothing words and music.

Here are some helpful hints for gaining the most benefit from using guided imagery to help you calm your mind.

1. Know that it is normal to find certain issues to obsess about—so practice self compassion and let go of judging yourself.

2. Do recognize that the thoughts and images that fill your mind make a significant impact on your well being.

3. Decide that your peace of mind is a top priority and dedicate a daily practice towards creating this in your life.

4. Learn about how guided imagery has been researched and proven to be an effective practice for stress reduction, healing, and improved performance.

5. Practice Practice Practice-it takes up to 66 days to change a habit.

6. Become more mindful of the nature of your imagery–when is it healing and when is it rooted in fear?

7. Remember a time in your life when you used your imagination in a positive way. Connect deeply with the details of this experience-recalling the visual, auditory and olfactory nature of this memory-the more senses that are involved-the more powerful the experience. Regularly “visit” this memory—and let it empower you.

8. Begin to establish a relaxation space in your home or office that helps you create and maintain a daily healing practice.

THE BEST WAY TO RECEIVE GUIDED IMAGERY IS:

1. Settle into a comfortable place, turn off the phone, tell others you will be unavailable for awhile.

2. Make sure you are sitting comfortably or better yet lying down, temperature is right, lights are low, make sure your audio player is set up and ready to use. (Many listeners like to use headphones.)

3. Your unconscious is most receptive right before you fall asleep and right when you first wake up-so this is the best time to listen.

However, in the middle of a stressful day; listening to an imagery journey can be a perfect break.

4. You will be in a state of focused awareness-not under any spell and under anyone’s control (a myth)

5. Take your time before transitioning back into your life-let the imagery settle.

6. They say it takes up to 66 days to change a habit-try to listen daily!!

So when you start to feel overwhelmed this holiday season – take a 20 minute break.

Sit back and soak in a guided imagery journey. Let your mind relax into the “theta” brain wave state-where you are most receptive to suggestion. In this dream-like state you will now have the extra benefit of accessing the power of your unconscious mind where you can see your challenges through a clearer lens and reconnect with what inspires, motivates and energizes you.

Glenda Cedarleaf MSW LICSW is a holistic psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist who loves helping others heal through the power of guided imagery.. She is a guided imagery practitioner who creates customized and premade guided imagery audios for relaxation and healing. Her audios “Your Healing Journey ” and “Healing Surgery” are used for patients at Ridgeview Medical Center in the Emergency Room, Cardiac Catheter Lab, Joint Center and outpatient Surgery Center.
Glenda also facilitates women’s retreats. Her upcoming virtual retreat begins in January 2012.
For a free full guided meditation download and video for holiday stress relief visit
Her websites: http://www.guidedimagerycd.com and http://www.wisewomanretreat.com.

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