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Mind Your Head Brain Training Book by Sue Stebbins and Carla Clark
by Sue Stebbins &
Carla Clark

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Advocates of imagery contend that the imagination is a potent healer that has long been overlooked by practitioners of Western medicine.

Imagery can relieve pain, speed healing and help the body subdue hundreds of ailments, including depression, impotence, allergies and asthma. The power of the mind to influence the body is quite remarkable.

Although it isn't always curative, imagery can be helpful in 90 percent of the problems that people bring to the attention of their primary care physicians.

Images and Other Senses Are the Means Used by the Brain to Communicate with Our Other Organs

Imagery is the most fundamental language we have. Everything you do the mind processes through images. When we recall events from our past or childhood, we think of pictures, images, sounds, pain, etc. It is hardly ever be words.

Images aren't necessarily limited to visual but can be sounds, tastes, smells or a combination of sensations. A certain smell, for example, may invoke either pleasant or bad memories in you. Similarly, going to a place where you had a bad accident may instantly invoke visions of the accident and initiate flight or fight response.

Think, for example, of holding a fresh, juicy lemon in your hand. Perhaps you can feel its texture or see the vividness of its yellow skin. As you slice it open, you see the juice squirt out of it. The lemon's tart aroma is overwhelming. Finally, you stick it in your mouth, suck on it and taste the sour flavor as the juices roll over your tongue.

More than likely, your body reacted in some way to that image. For example, you may have begun to salivate.

Imagery is the language that the mind uses to communicate with the body. You can't really talk to a wart and say 'Hey, go away,' because that's not the language that the brain uses to communicate with the body. You need to imagine that wart and see it shrinking. Imagery is the biological connection between the mind and body. As we will see, this is extremely useful in mind body healing.

Imagery Can Involve Negative Visualizations Too

Unfortunately, many of the images popping into our heads do more harms than good. In fact, the most common type of imagery is worry. Because when we worry, what we worry about exists only in our imaginations.

It is estimated that an average person has 10,000 thoughts or images flashing through his mind each day. At least half of those thoughts are negative, such as anxiety of meeting a quota, a coming speech, job related anxiety, etc. Unharnessed, a steady dose of worry and other negative images can alter your physiology and make you more susceptible to a variety of ailments, ranging from acne to arthritis, headaches to heart disease, ulcers to urinary tract infections.

Your thoughts have a direct influence on the way you feel and behave. If you tend to dwell on sad or negative thoughts, you most likely are not a very happy person. Likewise, if you think that your job is enough to give you a headache, you probably will come home with throbbing temples each day. This is just another clear example of the power the mind exerts over the body.

But if you can learn to direct and control the images in your head, you can help your body heal itself. Our imagination is like a spirited, powerful horse. If it's untamed, it can be dangerous and run you over. But if you learn to use your imagination in a way that is purposeful and directed, it can be a tremendously powerful vehicle to get you where you want to go, including to better health.

Your imagination can be a powerful tool to help you combat stress, tension, and anxiety. You can use visualization to harness the energy of your imagination, and it does not take long-probably just a few weeks-to master the technique. Try to visualize two or three times a day. Most people find it easiest to do in bed in the morning and at night before falling asleep, though with practice you'll be able to visualize whenever and wherever the need arises.

Imagery Had Been In Use in Ancient Civilizations

Imagery has been considered a healing tool in virtually all of the world's cultures and is an integral part of many religions. Navajo Indians, for example, practice an elaborate form of imagery that encourages a person to "see" himself as healthy. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, including Aristotle and Hippocrates believed that images release spirits in the brain that arouse the heart and other parts of the body. They also thought that a strong image of a disease is enough to cause its symptoms.

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