Let’s face it – life is stressful. Hopefully not all the time, every day, but all of us go through times of stress, both “garden variety” every-day stressors and Big Deal stressors.

In terms of your health, one of the reasons stress can be so damaging it the simple fact that our bodies are programmed to de-prioritize important repair and maintenance work when running away from a saber tooth tiger. Which makes sense. But many people – perhaps you? – spend a lot of time running away from phantom saber tooth tigers, as least according to their nervous system.

A great tool for re-training your nervous system are guided imagery meditations. Harnessing the power of your imagination, guided imagery meditations can have a powerful influence on your health – so much so that Kaiser and other health care institutions make them available to their patients having surgery or going through chemo, because patients who use these techniques have few side effects.

What I love about guided imagery meditations is that they are so very simple – just get comfortable and listen. You don’t have to “do” anything, think about anything, learn anything, study anything. Like being read to as a child, the mediations engage your imagination and take you on a journey.

Bellaruth Naperstek is a leading pioneer in this field and her company Heath Journeys has been helping people create better health for going in 30 years. Kaiser has podcasts of her meditations on their website (and as far as I can tell, they are free and accessible to everyone).

Or, browse the plethora of apps available on your smartphone. Great athletics understand the mighty power of imagination; use yours to quit running from that tiger and give your nervous system a well-needed break.

Kirstin Lindquist, L.Ac.

 

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