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Your Body’s Response to Imagery

Ooh, that is sour!

Imagine yourself holding a lemon and a sharp knife. Slice the lemon in half. Pay attention to the bright lemony scent releasing. Lift the lemon half to your mouth and bite in. The tart juice squirts right on to your lips and tongue.

If your mouth began to water, you responded physically to something you imagined. Vivid imagery is real to the body. It stimulates the same brain centers as it does for things when they actually occur.

Perhaps you remember waking up in the middle of the night from a frightening nightmare with your heart racing, your muscles tightened, your breath quickened or your skin covered in sweat. Visualizing images in night dreams or intentionally during imagery work can influence your physical body, your biochemistry and your psyche. A precise image can do something precise to the body. It can move blood flow, muscles, your heartbeat and energy. It can even affect your cells when precise descriptive language is used.

Imagery work isn’t necessarily about positive thinking or relaxation although it can be. When imagery work is successful, it enables the mind to convert images, ideas and expectations into biochemical realities. It can jolt the body to begin to move in a specific way. This creative jolt can bring you to a healing space. It can allow you to stumble across a personal truth, shift into a preferred state or release a particular problem. It is a way to dialogue with the body and psyche so it can recover and discover.

Most of the time, we use images to connect with our imagination. Songwriters understand how powerful images are using them in their lyrics all the time. We communicate using language but when an image is used through metaphor or simile, the idea or message shoots right in quickly and deeply like an arrow flying straight into our psyche. If you really want your communication to be understood and remembered well, find and use the right imagery. It will stick and stay. Imagery uses our more primitive right brain; the one connected to our emotions and our senses. For example, notice how the images used in the following lyrics strengthen their message making them clearer and more memorable. This can be fun to pay attention to and quite helpful if you do decide to use more imagery in your communications.

“All we are is dust in the wind.” Kansas  “How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone” Bob Dylan  “I am like a rubber band until you pull too hard.” Sia “I got the moves like Jagger.” Maroon 5  “Shine bright like a diamond.” Rihanna

Imagery Work is a creative, holistic mind-body technique that is simple, playful and effective. For more information, visit

Posted by: Dalia Wallach CH, HHC