Visualisation | Recovery and the power of the mind

A friend of mine was diagnosed with a serious illness last year, and had to go into hospital for an eight hour operation that involved removing a great deal of his insides. He was, quite frankly, terrified that he wouldn't come out of the operation at all, and if he did, equally distressed at the trauma and shock it would cause to his body.

There was very little I could do to support him, but I went against my usual habit of not offering any suggestions unless asked (because there's not much more irritating than being inundated with stuff that's 'not your thing'). I sent him an MP3 download that I have recommended to several people in similar situations, confident from their results that it would make a difference for him too.  And any positive difference in his situation had to be good....

Did you know we can harness the minds power, through visualisation, to heal ourselves?

The recording is called 'Successful Surgery' and is from the Healthjourneys website, read by Belleruth Naparstak. She is a guided imagery producer, with an easy to listen to voice, and what she does is offer your mind instructions that, if repeated and listened to often enough, gives it an automatic pathway to healing. She has a wide range of audio tapes that help with many health issues, but this one seems to stand out from the crowd. It sets the scene for your mind in advance, visualising the run up to the operation, during surgery and whilst recovering afterwards.  It's a visualisation of easy recovery, and speeded up repair. It is inexpensive, and it really works.  

It wasn't my friends 'thing' at all, but he was so determined to help himself that he followed the instructions.  He listened to the recording twice a day for two weeks before going into hospital.  

My friend came out of his operation splendidly. It ended up taking less than 5 hours in the end and, to the doctors amazement, having been told he would be in hospital for 10 days, he was out in 5, and had no major problems during his recuperation. It was better than textbook.

Luck? Or the power of the mind?  

 

What exactly is visualisation?

 

Visualisation is a technique where you use your mind and imagination to create images of the things that you want to achieve. Not just casually, wishing vaguely that such and such would happen, but so clearly and precisely that your mind is convinced of the 'reality' of the vision and delivers you exactly what you have asked for.

Visualising, merely using your mind to imagine, can affect your physical body. As Tessa Guy, our Reboot Hero of earlier blogs, found, even 'just' imagining yourself strenuously exercising has been scientifically shown to achieve much of the health benefits of 'real' exercise, raising your heart rate and improving your muscle tone and strength (Journal of Neurophysiology 2014).  

Hypnotherapists often use visualisation to overcome the fear of a diagnosis or to enable patients to play a part in their own recovery - to imagine cancer cells being destroyed or arteries unblocked. They use visualisation to change mental patterns or bad habits, and to implant positive self-help images and messages that re-focus your behaviour and self-esteem. If you are ill, hold an image of yourself always at the front of your mind - see yourself well and strong, build a picture of your perfect present. Know that that is what you are creating for yourself

Visualisation plays a powerful part in yoga, and in meditation. Book in for a class, or listen to a recording in the comfort of your own home. The teacher will guide you through a process that doesn't usually last more than 20 minutes though it may feel far longer. I am usually amazed when I see how little time has passed! 

A guided meditation often takes you to a beautiful place inside your mind. Your perfect place.  Somewhere that calms your mind and strengthens your soul. You see everything around you clearly, inside your head, down to the tiniest detail. As your mind can't tell the difference between reality and imagined reality, let your ability to visualise run free. For your mind, everything you imagine is as real as if you were 'really' sitting in that garden, resting by a lake or lying under a tree, deep in the forest. As you sit there for some time, in deep silence, anything that needs to come to mind arrives, peacefully and clearly. Visualisation can help you to resolve daily issues and let go of your life's burdens. It can bring you tranquility and clarity. Visualise your day running smoothly before you even start it, and you will reap the benefits.

 

Rules for a successful visualisation

First, clear your mental clutter: If you instruct your mind clearly, it will always carry out your instruction. 'Ask, and you will be given'. 

But you need to clarify your ask and be specific. A general 'I want to be rich' just doesn't cut it.  Far too general and unspecific. 

Our problem is that usually our minds are so busy and so contradictory in their messaging that your mind doesn't know whether it's coming or going. So clear the clutter of words and thoughts that whirl endlessly through your mind on a daily basis. Meditating and visualising cuts out all the confusion and clears your inner space. Drop an instruction into the quiet pool of your meditating mind and watch how quickly your visualisation will become reality.

Always visualise in the present tense. See yourself achieving what you want to achieve right now.  Not at some vague future time. It must be as if it was happening all around you, this second. As if it's already concrete fact, no doubt of any kind.

Visualise very precisely: See yourself, feel what you would be feeling, hear the sounds going on around you. Are there any smells? Any tastes? What can you touch or feel? What other people are there with you? See them in detail, hear what they are saying. Observe the atmosphere. Make the vision as concrete and real as you can.

Visualise often: the more your mind 'sees' the instruction the faster it will work to deliver it.  Visualise each day. Create a mood board with pictures, feelings, words and precise details, and hang it somewhere your mind will repeatedly see it.

 

 

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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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