The Benefits of Meditation and Visualization

Most of us lead busy and hectic lives that require time, attention, and effort towards work, children, relationships, and trying to squeeze in a social life and alone time. The demands that come with each of these significant areas of life can be challenging to juggle at times and can often lead to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, relationship problems, and health issues when we don’t manage them effectively.  Along with self-care skills, boundary setting, and other coping skills, meditation and visualization have been found to have multiple benefits on our mental and physical states and help us tackle our day-to-day lives in healthy ways.  

People often confuse meditation and visualization as the same process however they are in fact different.  Meditation is a process that aims to quiet the mind by directing it to a specific mental state that generally involves the ability to be fully present without allowing any external distractions to impede. Visualization is generally started through some form of meditation and is a process in which our minds repetitively send out commands to our physical and mental states to follow so that we end up making the messages a reality.  For example, when we focus on the belief that we are in a calm and relaxed state, we have the ability to train our bodies to believe that it is actually calm. This is very effective when we experience stress and anxiety since it helps to alter the physical sensations that are associated with it.  

When meditation and visualization are done on a consistent basis, we can train our minds and bodies to work for us instead of against us.  Here are some other benefits associated with these two practices:

•    Promotes emotional balance
•    Improves immunity fighting cells
•    Reduces blood pressure
•    Reduces insomnia
•    Promotes mental clarity
•    Strengthens mind-body connection and communication
•    Reduces somatic symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension)
•    Improves circulation
•    Increases fertility

Like most skills, meditation and visualization takes time and practice to master however the benefits that can be reaped are extremely powerful.  Utilizing tools such as guided meditation and visualization or simple breathing exercises can be very effective to help start training our minds and bodies.  

~ Cory Stege, M.S., LMFT