A study reveals that self-guided positive emotional imagery training has great potential to improve the daily emotional well-being and to overcome negative emotions.
“The close relationship between the human imagery system and our emotions can cause deep emotional perturbations”, said Dr Svetla Velikova, part of the research group at Smartbrain in Norway.
“Imagery techniques are often used in cognitive psychotherapy to help patients modify disturbing mental images and overcome negative emotions,” added Velikova.
The study first appeared in the journal of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, showed that depressive symptoms were less prominent in the psychological testing. The number of those with sub-threshold depression, expressing depressive symptoms but not meeting the criteria for depression, was reduced to half. Researchers tried to see if such techniques could become self-guided and developed at home, away from the therapist’s chair. Overall, volunteers were more satisfied with life and perceived themselves as much more efficient.
There is great interest in ways to combat such regular negative emotional responses through imagery training. To find out, if we can train ourselves to use imagery techniques and optimise our emotional state, they turned to 30 healthy volunteers. During a two-day workshop the volunteers learnt a series of imagery techniques.
The participants learnt coping with depression like how to cope with negative emotions from past events through imagery transformation, how to use positive imagery for future events or goals and techniques to improve social interactions and enhance their emotional balance in daily life. They then spent the next 12 weeks training themselves at home for 15-20 minutes a day, before attending another similar two-day workshop.
They compared the results of the participant psychological assessment and brain activity, or electroencephalographic (EEG), measurement, before and after the experiment. “This combination of EEG findings also suggests a possible increase in the activity of GABA (gamma -aminobutyric acid), well known for its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties,” the researcher explained.
News Source: ANI
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