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Do you ever picture yourself on a tropical beach, singing on stage or living your wildest dreams?
You may not realize it, but the mental pictures you create in your mind can have a powerful effect on your body and brain. Imagining yourself eating a decadent chocolate dessert literally makes your mouth water and your stomach rumble – even though you can’t actually smell, taste or see it in front of you. And fantasizing about that gorgeous guy or girl might make your heart skip a beat!
Visualization, also known as mental imagery or guided imagery, means you form a visual image of an object, landscape or situation in your mind. Many of us unconsciously do this every day, when we read a story, dream about the future or create a mental map of directions given to us.
But you can also purposely tap into your imagination and visualize peaceful, healing scenarios in order to support your health and happiness. Research has consistently shown that visualization helps you reduce stress, relax your muscles, and promote better sleep. Through this deep relaxation, visualization even has a positive impact on your immunity. It also literally takes your mind off pain, and significantly eases that aching. What’s more, by focusing on soothing scenarios or positive outcomes, visualization also reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
So how does that work?