How can you use the power of the mind to help yourself heal, bolster your strength during treatments, or shore up your endurance while caring for an ill loved one? Experts recommend clearing out negative emotions. We’ve included two guided imagery exercises below to get you started.
“Once we wake up and acknowledge that thoughts and beliefs wield power,” says Fran Greenfield, life coach specializing in mind/body medicine and Cinco Vidas expert, “we can create a new relationship with life and with ourselves: a relationship that infuses us with a stream of energy that changes our body chemistry and instructs every cell and organ to ‘Choose life.’”
Two Guided Imagery Exercises
#1: Releasing Rage
Many of us who are going through cancer, have survived it, or are watching someone we love battle it out, experience what can be a very negative emotion: rage. Deb Shapiro, author and body/mind therapist, offers the following exercise to dissipate rage’s destructive powers. [Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind. Sounds True, Inc. 2006.]
Find a quiet place to be.
Lie down and close your eyes. Follow your breath as you relax.
Slowly begin to scan your body.
Ask where your rage is stored. See if you can find those places where you keep your rage.
Watch as rage arises.
Observe the effects on your body, mind and heart. Can you hear what it is saying? Rage often acts as a mask. Beneath it you may find tender feelings of loss, insecurity or fear, of intense grief or shame.
Find these feelings.
Give them a voice, accept them as a reclaimed part of you, and see what happens to the rage.
When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go.
#2: Breaking the Idols
Fran Greenfield, mind/body healer and teacher, suggests the following exercise to de-create restricting beliefs and thoughts that keep you stuck. It allows you to surrender to what is, and to who you truly are. As you practice this each day the imagery may change. Allow it to be what it is. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad, normal or abnormal standard in imagination.
Frequency: Once every day for 21 days.
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. (Start by exhaling through your nose, then inhale through your mouth, then return to your regular breathing.)
See yourself in the museum of your life.
See there all the statues and artifacts that fill these rooms and hallways.
Sense and know how these creations prevent you from living freely and wholly in the present.
Breathe out one time.
Walk through this museum and in any way you choose, break apart and destroy these constructions.
Once you have done this, clear away the debris and get rid of it.
See what happens and notice how you feel.
Then breathe out, open your eyes and return.
Ms. Greenfield has also graciously offered to be a resource for any of you wishing to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She recommends Dr. Gerald Epstein as a second excellent resource for imagery and other integrative mind/body information.
Let us know what you think of these exercises, or if you have others that have proven effective for you.