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Description: Mental Imagery training is used frequently as part of cognitive therapy approaches to helping people with PTSD related to exposure to traumatic events. Mental Imagery is also used in sports to assist athletes in focusing upon the components of peak performance. But can people be taught to effectively use Mental Imagery to reduce the negative effects of day-to-day negative life experiences? Could thinking of positive images and situations improve our moods states without the assistance of a psychotherapist? What do you think? Read the article linked below and see what the study it discusses found. Oh and yes, that IS Arnold in the picture below, a great proponent of the power of mental imagery.

Source: Teach yourself everyday happiness with imagery training, Science News, ScienceDaily.

Date: February 24, 2017

Photo Credit:  http://www.mentaltrainingprogram.com

Links:  Article Link – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170224111813.htm

The research discussed in the linked article found that with a small amount of initial instruction healthy volunteers were able to use a series of daily mental imagery exercises to improve their ability to use mental imagery processes to reduce the emotional impact of negative day-to-day events. Particularly, participants who practiced mental imagery daily showed significantly lower levels of depressive symptoms (sub-clinical) following the 12 week trial. The results seem to suggest that mental imaginary helps reduce the impact of emotional life events and thus also reduces depressive symptoms. Perhaps this is something everyone should learn how to do! It changes the functioning of the brain as well.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are mental imagery techniques?
  2. How do mental imagery techniques affect people’s emotional stability and well-being?
  3. Who should be taught these techniques and how should their use be monitored?

References (Read Further):

Velikova, S., Sjaaheim, H., & Nordtug, B. (2017). 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, 10, 664.   http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00664/abstract

Murphy, S. E., O’Donoghue, M. C., Drazich, E. H., Blackwell, S. E., Nobre, A. C., & Holmes, E. A. (2015). Imagining a brighter future: The effect of positive imagery training on mood, prospective mental imagery and emotional bias in older adults. Psychiatry research, 230(1), 36-43. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178115005168

Blackwell, S. E., & Holmes, E. A. (2017). Brightening the Day With Flashes of Positive Mental Imagery: A Case Study of an Individual With Depression. Journal of Clinical Psychology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jclp.22455/full

Holmes, E. A., Blackwell, S. E., Burnett Heyes, S., Renner, F., & Raes, F. (2016). Mental imagery in depression: Phenomenology, potential mechanisms, and treatment implications. Annual review of clinical psychology, 12, 249-280. http://www.academia.edu/download/44695867/Holmes_etal_AnnRevClinPsychol_ImageryinDepression_acceptedversion.pdf

di Nuovo, S., de la Cruz, V., Conti, D., Buono, S., & di Nuovo, A. (2014). Mental imagery. Life Span and Disability, 17(1), 89-118.
Ridderinkhof, K. R., & Brass, M. (2015). How Kinesthetic Motor Imagery works: a predictive-processing theory of visualization in sports and motor expertise. Journal of Physiology-Paris, 109(1), 53-63. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/K_Richard_Ridderinkhof/publication/274260347_How_Kinesthetic_Motor_Imagery_Works_A_Predictive-Processing_Theory_of_Visualization_in_Sports_and_Motor_Expertise/links/55a681c308aeb4e8e64695cc.pdf

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