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Does guided imagery and visualization help for stress and anxiety?

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Yes- guided imagery and visualization can help to reduce stress and anxiety. When you are visualizing pleasant and calming scenes, it can help to distract you from your negative thoughts that are contributing to anxiety. As you visualize and imagine pleasant and calming scenes via words and music (from an instructor or an audiovisual recording), you are more in tune with your senses, such as sights, sounds, smells, and touch. This helps you focus on the here and now, and prevents you from anticipating future events that make you anxious.

There are a couple of exceptions for using guided imagery and visualization in anxiety- social anxiety disorder (social phobia) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For these two anxiety disorders, guided imagery and visualization can make the anxiety worse. But for all other anxiety disorders, guided imagery and visualization is helpful.

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answered Nov 11, 2015 by drcarlo (291,670 points)
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