Guided Imagery as a Way to Reduce Stress

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
An example of imagery

Guided imagery as a way to reduce stress is one of the most effective ways to help you ease your mind and body. Guided imagery is a mind trick that sends signals to your body that initiate relaxation because your brain thinks you are far away from stressors. Knowing how to put yourself somewhere else with guided imagery is your first step toward relaxation.

Guided Imagery as a Way to Reduce Stress

Imagery for relaxation is thinking of a place that promotes peace and tranquility. Guided imagery is someone taking you through the process of finding that place where you feel the most relaxed. This person can be a counselor, friend or a voice on CD.

Why Choose a Guide for Imagery

While you may think that you don't need a guide to do imagery, you may be surprised to find out that using one can provide you much more tranquility than doing it on your own.

  • Less distraction: When you use a guide, your thoughts will less likely distract you. When doing it yourself, you may have a harder time focusing on getting to your peaceful place and instead, drift off to thinking about all your current stressors (defeating the purpose of your imagery session).
  • Achieving deeper relaxation: With guided imagery by a professional, you will be able to uncover deeper levels of relaxation, which will keep you at ease for longer. A professional knows how to peel away the layers of stress you have built up by sending you deeper into your imagery, so much so that you will have a difficult time coming out of it and facing reality again.
  • New ways keep you motivated: Without guided imagery, you may go to your peaceful place the same way each time. With someone guiding you, you can have a different scenario each time or just switch it when you're ready to, which will keep you interested and motivated to use imagery for stress relief on a regular basis.

Different Types of Guides

When choosing a guide, you need to try out a few before you find which one is most effective for you. Consider the following when selecting the right type of guide for your imagery:

  • Do you prefer a male or female's voice? Don't think just because you are a woman that you will enjoy a female's voice; try out a male's voice to experience the difference and then decide.
  • Do you like a lot of music or sound effects or almost none at all? Music can help some people with relaxation but it can also innerve others.
  • Do you enjoy a slow pace route to peace or a faster one? You may not like a slow descent to total tranquility but would rather have it a bit faster.
  • The time you have to relieve stress - if you don't have a lot of time, you need to find a CD that isn't as long as others. Keep in mind though, the less time you have you may not feel as stress free as you would with more time.

Finding Guided Imagery

If you don't have a friend who is experienced in guided imagery or don't want to seek counseling, you can find many CDs that will help you reduce stress this way. The following are websites where you can purchase them:

If you want try guided imagery, you can download an MP3 and play it on your computer or MP3 player from:


Guided imagery as a way to reduce stress can be a regular relaxation tool for you. Pop a CD into your car stereo on the way to and from work, close the door to your office and take a break, or before you drift off to sleep have a guide take you off to a place where dreams come true.

Guided Imagery as a Way to Reduce Stress