Holistic use of Creative Imagery

Copyright of the following material (introductory article and creative imagery exercise) belongs to Nancy Frank RN BSN HSMI.


Research into psychoneuroimmunology has shown support for the use of positive images to improve a patient’s immune system/response.  Psychologists have found that individuals who hold a positive image or thought in mind during periods of duress/distress, such as seen in the WWII internment camps had a better survival rate and greater ability to return to their former lives once released.

We each use imagery in our daily lives, either positive or negative.  Examples of negative imagery pertain to worry, when you see a poor outcome to that job interview, meeting with your boss or your child’s teacher, or when you leave home late and just know that the traffic will be terrible.  In your mind's eye you picture all of this.  Positive imagery includes happy thoughts, of the hugs from your kindergartener as she comes home today full of smiles from school, your date planned with that special someone, or the glow of new love - fantasizing what the future could hold for you both.         

Disclaimer: This exercise is intended for support of well being and healing and not intended to replace medical treatment.  There maybe certain limitations and contraindications for certain illnesses.  All individuals who are to participate in this exercise must be assessed for their ability to benefit from this exercise as well as for their ability to perform it.  Any mental, physical, emotional, spiritual or cognitive limitations or deficiencies must be considered.  An assessment by a holistic nurse or doctor may be necessary to determine this.

Creative Imagery Exercise

To begin, find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down. 
Take a few deep breaths into your abdomen, fully expanding your lungs without strain.
As you release the breath allow the tension from your muscles to release as well,

When you are ready and your mind is calm begin to picture a garden in winter
The holly bushes, with glossy green leaves, and bight red berries
The snow clinging to a leaf
The rose bushes devoid of leaves with big bright rose hips tipping their branches
The path is snow covered and crunches under your feet
It has just finished snowing and the air has that wonderful scent of new fallen snow, that clean scent
You can see your breath as you breathe out but it is not too cold now
You reach down and grasp a handful of snow
and realize it is good packing snow for snow balls
You decide that would be fun and you pack a nice big snow ball and turn to see where you can throw it
There is a big oak tree just ahead with thick bare braches that creak with the wind
and a wide trunk
You decide that’s a perfect target and throw your snow ball
That was so much fun you chose to do it again a few more times
Now you walk on down the path giggling to yourself that you have not done that in quite some time

What else did you used to do in the snow as a child?  You begin to think...
Snow angels!
And the urge is so great that you plop down right there on the side of the path in a big open spot where the daisies are in the summer
You spread your arms and legs and make a huge snow angel

When you get up to look at that one it is so nice you decide to create another and another until you realize you are surrounded - in a circle of snow angels
You feel protected and loved
Your guardian angels are speaking to you here
Reminding you that you are not alone, ever

Allow yourself to feel the love radiating to you from this circle of angels
Know they are there to support you in your most trying times
Their strength upholds you when you don’t think you can go on
You get another urge to make a small snow woman and place her right in the middle of this circle, symbolizing yourself and the angels' eternal protection of you

You turn and leave the garden feeling loved and supported and able to handle any challenge that might await you

(Pause a moment then)
Begin to hear the sounds around you
Feels the chair or floor where it meets your body
Wiggle your fingers and toes, hand and feet
Slowly bringing your awareness back to the room
And when your are ready open your eyes
Come back fully to your room

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