Self guided positive imagery an easy cost effective way to boost happiness

Teach yourself positive imagery for a happiness boos

There is no doubt that happiness is elusive and sometimes seems unattainable. What if a simple thing like training yourself to be happy using imagery actually worked?

Imagery changes brain function for happiness

Researchers say it is entirely possible to be happy by changing the way your brain functions. The technique uses a self-guided approach that you can do at home. It is even a powerful tool for treating PTSD naturally, without drugs and sans a trip to the therapist.

Dr Svetla Velikova of Smartbrain in Norway said in a media release:

"Imagery techniques are often used in cognitive psychotherapy to help patients modify disturbing mental images and overcome negative emotions."

Positive imagery changes brain connections

Velikova  explains reliving negative images in our mind causes anxiety, but  we can transform the brain through positive imagery that focuses on future goals and events.

To test their theory Velikova and co-workers enrolled 30 healthy volunteers in a 2 day workshop where participants were taught how to use guided imagery for future events, social interaction and goals.

They were then sent home to practice how to cope with negative emotions for 12-weeks; 15 to 20 minutes a day.

Brain wave activity and psychological assessments  were mapped before and after a second two week workshop.

"The psychological testing showed that depressive symptoms were less prominent. The number of those with subthreshold depression, expressing depressive symptoms but not meeting the criteria for depression, was halved. Overall, volunteers were more satisfied with life and perceived themselves as more efficient" she explained in a media release.

Study participants had more beta waves  in the area of the brain involved in pleasant emotions and feelings of satisfaction in life as a result of practicing imagery techniques.

The finding could be the result of in,creased GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, which is a chemical that helps control stress and lift mood the researcher says.

Watch the guided imagery video below from Sloan Kettering.

The study suggests a simple intervention that you can practice at home and is cost effective could literally change your life. Self guided imagery is a technique used for cognitive therapy that is recognized as an effective approach for promoting relaxation and improve physical health.

More reading:
Negative emotions predict poor health
Stress and you - learn to S L O W down

Journal Reference:
Svetla Velikova, Haldor Sjaaheim, Bente Nordtug. Can the Psycho-Emotional State be Optimized by Regular Use of Positive Imagery?, Psychological and Electroencephalographic Study of Self-Guided Training. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2017; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00664