The goal of guided imagery is to shift your mood. Using a series of cues on your own or with a guide who helps you, you imagine sensations or visualize images that remind you of good feelings, happiness or calm.

How guided imagery might help

Guided imagery may help you feel less panicked or anxious. It can be very useful during stressful medical procedures, such as an MRI or biopsy. It is also a good way to temporarily reduce breast cancer symptoms such as nausea, pain and fatigue.

How guided imagery works

A guide may ask you to close your eyes and think of a place that makes you feel safe and calm. You’ll be asked to focus on every part of that place with all five senses, including its sights, sounds, scents, the feel of objects within it, and its tastes (for example, the salty ocean air on your lips). Your guide may use elements of music therapy as well. When you are deeply focused, you’ll feel like you’re there and that what you’re imagining is real.

What guided imagery costs

Practicing guided therapy on your own when you begin to worry is a good way to stop yourself in the moment, calm down and redirect your thoughts. Staff at your cancer or community center may offer formal sessions. Talk with your healthcare team about what options are available.