We are all too familiar with the way our mind can wind us up.
One second we are sitting at home tracking a loved one's flight, the next second our imagination is taking us into a full blown movie scene of every worse case situation possible.
This is the practice of imagery. The hypothetical. The worrying. We all do it all day long.
"When asking a group of people if they do imagery, usually about 1/3 will raise their hands. When I ask how many worry, there is laughter and all the hands fly into the air, How many of us realize that we are constantly doing imagery?" -Nischala Joy Devi
But, did you know that you can choose your imagery?
We've all heard the phrase "the power of positive thinking". But just how powerful is it?
What we think sends a feeling to our body. Our mind tells our nervous system what to do.
Tensing (negative thoughts) in our body causes stress on the body. Relaxing (positive thoughts) causes healing.
We can control so much of our whole health in this simple way way.
There's a reason that people with terminal illnesses that go and take that trip, forgive others, and live their best life, sometimes end up spontaneously curing themselves. They are finally prioritizing happiness, and happy thoughts, therefor are sending a healing calm message to their entire body.
Happiness is powerful. Positive thoughts and feelings are powerful.
But can we create those feelings without even really going anywhere- by instead controlling our mind? By selectively choosing what we think about?
As Gabby Bernstein likes to say when a negative thought comes in she just simply says to herself "choose again." And then she chooses a more positive thought. Over and over, training her brain like a muscle, until the mind starts to do it on it's own naturally.
"Go to your happy place" is a phrase I use with both my kids and my yoga clients. Walking them into a visual of their most joyful memories- filled with sceneries of their favorite things and the smiles of the people they love. From smells, to sounds, to tastes.
After this visualization, there is a noticeable shift in the body.
We can feel the calming effect this has. We know something is relaxing in our bodies, and now that inner knowing is backed by science.
It's actually been proven that imagery can lower blood pressure in a doctor's office almost instantly.
That's not a prescription at work, that's you.
Our bodies are so capable of doing what they are designed to do, if we let them. If we find the right tools.
Tell this to my 4 year old, and he knows it. He believes it. If he is too antsy before bed, or has had a bad dream, I do this bedtime positive imagery exercise for him. He likes to call it his "meditation" or "his happy stuff."
It's simple, and it works.
1) Close your eyes and go to a happy place (I use the beach we frequent)
2) Go through all the 5 senses:
Everything you can see
Everything you can hear
Everything you can smell
Everything you can taste
Everything you can feel
Describe everything, imagine it, feel yourself in that moment and place. If your mind tries to wander off somewhere else, just keep bringing it back to this place until you get through all 5 senses.
When you are done open your eyes and notice the changes you have made in your body almost instantly.
This imagination tool is always available for you (and your kids) at any point in your day. When your mind wants to choose worry, "choose again:, and find that positive image instead.
Over time you will notice enormous shifts in the way you feel.