stress relief tools

5 Types of Imagery

Different types of imagery correspond to different senses.
Are you evoking all of them with these words?

When we hear the word imagery, we usually associate it with some form of visual representation in our minds. We think about pictures and images. But, that's not all there is to imagery. Imagery is more complex.

Essentially, there are five types of imagery, each corresponding to one of our senses: visual, auditory, kinesthetic olfactory (smell), and gustatory(taste).

The key to good imagery is engaging all five senses.

Here are some examples of words specific to the five sensory systems:

Visual

picture
flash
bright
sharp
clear
see
light
dark
large
blue

Auditory

scream
shout
listen
tone
whisper
ring
utter
nasal
squeal
quiet

Kinesthetic

feel
warm
grasp
sharp
peaceful
cold
rugged
joyful
fuzzy
hard

Olfactory

pungent
fragrant
sweet
dank
rich aroma
stinky
musty
rotten
odor
essence

Gustatory

sweet
sour
salty
bitter
fresh
juicy
bland
burnt
zesty
tangy

The following examples will take you through all the senses and will guide you to evoke specific imagery internally. For best results, close your eyes during visualization.

Visual

To evoke visual imagery, visualize the following:
A shape: circle, triangle, square
An oak tree
A rose
A sailing boat
A button
A computer

Auditory

To evoke auditory imagery, imagine the following:
The wind blowing through the trees
The ring on your telephone
The sound of your computer keyboard
Scales played on a guitar
Water lapping on a lake shore

Olfactory

To evoke olfactory imagery, conjure up the following smells:
Petrol fumes
Newly baked bread
Chlorine
New mown grass
Freshly brewed coffee

Gustatory (taste)

To evoke gustatory imagery, imagine the taste of:
Sugar
Bananas
Salt
Lemon
Toothpaste

Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic imagery can be further divided into: sense of touch, temperature, movement, and feelings.

Touch - imagine the feelings of:
Standing barefoot on a sandy beach
Running your fingertips on satin fabric
Holding a smooth pebble

Temperature:
Sunlight falling over your arm
Holding an ice cube
Stepping into a warm bath

Movement - feel yourself engaged in an activity:
Swimming
Running on grass
Throwing a ball

Feelings - what does it feel like in your body to be:
Peaceful
Angry
Sad
Calm
Happy

These are the main five types of imagery. Engage as many senses as you can when you are doing visualization or guided imagery.


 

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