OVERCOMING CANCER: THE MENTAL IMAGERY PROCESS

In this section, we will lead you through the relaxation-mental imagery process, repeating the previous instructions for relaxation. You may want to tape-record instructions, as we do for our I patients, or have a friend read them to you. If you are reading to someone else, be sure to read slowly. Allow the other person plenty of time to complete each step. Remember that j we encourage our patients to take ten to fifteen minutes to complete the entire process and to practice it three times a day.
Even if you do not have cancer, we ask you to go through the cancer visualization once to give you an emotional understanding of this process and insight into how the cancer patient feels.
1. Go to a quiet room with soft lighting. Shut the door, sit in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed.
2. Become aware of your breathing.
3. Take in a few deep breaths, and as you let out each breath, mentally say the word, “relax.”
4. Concentrate on your face and feel any tension in the muscles of your face and around your eyes. Make a mental picture of this tension—it might be a rope tied in a knot or a clenched fist—and then mentally picture it relaxing and becoming comfortable, like a limp rubber band.
5. Experience the muscles of your face and eyes becoming relaxed. As they relax, feel a wave of relaxation spreading through your body.
6. Tense the muscles of your face and around your eyes, squeezing tightly, then relax them and feel the relaxation spreading through your body.
7. More slowly down your body—jaw, neck, shoulders, back, upper and lower arms, hands, chest, abdomen, thighs, calves, ankles, feet—until every part of your body is more relaxed. For each part of the body, mentally picture the tension, then picture the tension melting away, allowing relaxation.
8. Now picture yourself in pleasant, natural surroundings—wherever feels comfortable for you. Mentally fill in the details of color, sound, texture.
9. Continue to picture yourself in a very relaxed state in this natural place for two to three minutes.
10. Then mentally picture the cancer in either realistic or symbolic terms. Think of the cancer as consisting of very weak, confused cells. Remember that our bodies destroy cancerous cells thousands of times during a normal lifetime. As you picture your cancer, realize that your recovery requires that your body’s own defenses return to a natural, healthy state.
11. If you are now receiving treatment, picture your treatment coming into your body in a way that you understand. If you are receiving radiation treatment, picture it as a beam of millions of bullets of energy hitting any cells in its path. The normal cells are able to repair any damage that is done, but the cancerous cells cannot because they are weak. (This is one of the basic facts upon which radiation therapy is built.) If you are receiving chemotherapy, picture that drug coming into your body and entering the bloodstream. Picture the drug acting like a poison. The normal cells are intelligent and strong and don’t take up the poison so readily. But the cancer cell is a weak cell so it takes very little to kill it. It absorbs the poison, dies, and is flushed out of your body.
12. Picture your body’s own white blood cells coming into the area where the cancer is, recognizing the abnormal cells, and destroying them. There is a vast army of white blood cells. They are very strong and aggressive. They are also very smart. There is no contest between them and the cancer cells; they will win the battle.
13. Picture the cancer shrinking. See the dead cells being carried away by the white blood cells and being flushed from your body through the liver and kidneys and eliminated in the urine and stool.
• This is your expectancy of what you want to happen.
• Continue to see the cancer shrinking, until it is all gone.
• See yourself having more energy and a better appetite and being able to feel comfortable and loved in your family as the cancer shrinks and finally disappears.
14. If you are experiencing pain anywhere in your body, picture the army of white blood cells flowing into that area and soothing the pain. Whatever the problem, give your body the command to heal itself. Visualize your body becoming well.
15. Imagine yourself well, free of disease, full of energy.
16. Picture yourself reaching your goals in life. See your purpose in life being fulfilled, the members of your family doing well, your relationships with people around you becoming more meaningful. Remember that having strong reasons for being well will help you get well, so use this time to focus clearly on your priorities in life.
17. Give yourself a mental pat on the back for participating in your recovery. See yourself doing this mental imagery exercise three times a day, staying awake and alert as you do it.
18. Then let the muscles in your eyelids lighten up, become ready to open your eyes, and become aware of the room.
19. Now let your eyes open, and you are ready to resume your usual activities.
If you have not done so already, please take the time to go through this mental imagery process. When you completed the entire exercise, draw a picture illustrating the images you created, so that you can analyze your imagery in more detail.
You needn’t worry about not being able to “see” the imagery if you were able to “sense” or “imagine” or “think” it. The word describing what you were doing is much less important than the fact of your doing it. Also, if you found your mind drifting during the process, next time just bring it back gently to the imagery without being harsh on yourself. If you were aware, while going through the process, that you were unable to complete certain of the instructions because you could not believe or accept them, then you have begun to confront your attitudes about cancer or recovery. By now you know how important that recognition is.
*42\347\2*

OVERCOMING CANCER: THE MENTAL IMAGERY PROCESSIn this section, we will lead you through the relaxation-mental imagery process, repeating the previous instructions for relaxation. You may want to tape-record instructions, as we do for our I patients, or have a friend read them to you. If you are reading to someone else, be sure to read slowly. Allow the other person plenty of time to complete each step. Remember that j we encourage our patients to take ten to fifteen minutes to complete the entire process and to practice it three times a day.Even if you do not have cancer, we ask you to go through the cancer visualization once to give you an emotional understanding of this process and insight into how the cancer patient feels.1. Go to a quiet room with soft lighting. Shut the door, sit in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed.2. Become aware of your breathing.3. Take in a few deep breaths, and as you let out each breath, mentally say the word, “relax.”4. Concentrate on your face and feel any tension in the muscles of your face and around your eyes. Make a mental picture of this tension—it might be a rope tied in a knot or a clenched fist—and then mentally picture it relaxing and becoming comfortable, like a limp rubber band.5. Experience the muscles of your face and eyes becoming relaxed. As they relax, feel a wave of relaxation spreading through your body.6. Tense the muscles of your face and around your eyes, squeezing tightly, then relax them and feel the relaxation spreading through your body.7. More slowly down your body—jaw, neck, shoulders, back, upper and lower arms, hands, chest, abdomen, thighs, calves, ankles, feet—until every part of your body is more relaxed. For each part of the body, mentally picture the tension, then picture the tension melting away, allowing relaxation.8. Now picture yourself in pleasant, natural surroundings—wherever feels comfortable for you. Mentally fill in the details of color, sound, texture.9. Continue to picture yourself in a very relaxed state in this natural place for two to three minutes.10. Then mentally picture the cancer in either realistic or symbolic terms. Think of the cancer as consisting of very weak, confused cells. Remember that our bodies destroy cancerous cells thousands of times during a normal lifetime. As you picture your cancer, realize that your recovery requires that your body’s own defenses return to a natural, healthy state.11. If you are now receiving treatment, picture your treatment coming into your body in a way that you understand. If you are receiving radiation treatment, picture it as a beam of millions of bullets of energy hitting any cells in its path. The normal cells are able to repair any damage that is done, but the cancerous cells cannot because they are weak. (This is one of the basic facts upon which radiation therapy is built.) If you are receiving chemotherapy, picture that drug coming into your body and entering the bloodstream. Picture the drug acting like a poison. The normal cells are intelligent and strong and don’t take up the poison so readily. But the cancer cell is a weak cell so it takes very little to kill it. It absorbs the poison, dies, and is flushed out of your body.12. Picture your body’s own white blood cells coming into the area where the cancer is, recognizing the abnormal cells, and destroying them. There is a vast army of white blood cells. They are very strong and aggressive. They are also very smart. There is no contest between them and the cancer cells; they will win the battle.13. Picture the cancer shrinking. See the dead cells being carried away by the white blood cells and being flushed from your body through the liver and kidneys and eliminated in the urine and stool.• This is your expectancy of what you want to happen.• Continue to see the cancer shrinking, until it is all gone.• See yourself having more energy and a better appetite and being able to feel comfortable and loved in your family as the cancer shrinks and finally disappears.14. If you are experiencing pain anywhere in your body, picture the army of white blood cells flowing into that area and soothing the pain. Whatever the problem, give your body the command to heal itself. Visualize your body becoming well.15. Imagine yourself well, free of disease, full of energy.16. Picture yourself reaching your goals in life. See your purpose in life being fulfilled, the members of your family doing well, your relationships with people around you becoming more meaningful. Remember that having strong reasons for being well will help you get well, so use this time to focus clearly on your priorities in life.17. Give yourself a mental pat on the back for participating in your recovery. See yourself doing this mental imagery exercise three times a day, staying awake and alert as you do it.18. Then let the muscles in your eyelids lighten up, become ready to open your eyes, and become aware of the room.19. Now let your eyes open, and you are ready to resume your usual activities.If you have not done so already, please take the time to go through this mental imagery process. When you completed the entire exercise, draw a picture illustrating the images you created, so that you can analyze your imagery in more detail.You needn’t worry about not being able to “see” the imagery if you were able to “sense” or “imagine” or “think” it. The word describing what you were doing is much less important than the fact of your doing it. Also, if you found your mind drifting during the process, next time just bring it back gently to the imagery without being harsh on yourself. If you were aware, while going through the process, that you were unable to complete certain of the instructions because you could not believe or accept them, then you have begun to confront your attitudes about cancer or recovery. By now you know how important that recognition is.*42\347\2*

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