Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

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Maggie DeMellier

Maggie DeMellier

Maggie DeMellier has been Health Journeys go-to customer service representative and marketing associate since March 2012. She worked as a surgical technician and pharmacy technician before she earned a BA in Mass Media Communication at The University of Akron. She operates a freelance writing business, specializing in medical ads, news articles, police blotters, features and business writing.  She was a teacher at a career college for six years, and earned a MA in Forensic Psychology in 2010. Maggie is the co-author of Parenting by Law or Grace, published by Synchronisity Press, in 2004.

Spring Forward and Fall Back is an old saying that helps us remember which way to turn the clock for the time changes in spring and fall, but for some of us, still in the grip of a freakishly brutal winter, springing forward feels more like falling back.

Sleep Awareness Week is the National Sleep Foundation's (NSF) annual public education campaign to raise awareness that sleep is as necessary to good health as food, water and air. This year's event, March 2-8, ends on the day we begin Daylight Saving Time—an excellent time to raise awareness about the need for adequate sleep.

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you're getting the minimum seven hours (or even less) and you have to wake up an hour earlier, without going to bed an hour earlier, this puts you in the danger zone of being sleep-deprived.

We've heard it, we love it and we can't wait for you to hear it—Traci Stein's newest title, Healthy Weight and Body Image. Same goes for its companion, Healthy Weight and Body Image during Sleep, though that one so effectively evokes a dreamy state it's tough to listen while sitting upright at work. I'm all for anything that works while you sleep, and I can't wait to get one to take home.

Many of you have already purchased the MP3's, and the feedback is heartwarming to hear, but for those of us who prefer CD's (I hear that!) the wait is almost over.

Here are but a few of the things these new programs are designed to do:

  • Help the listener achieve a healthy weight and support good eating and exercise habits.
  • Increase insight into the unconscious and/or unhealthy uses of food and weight.
  • Foster a loving appreciation of the body, even if behavior changes are desired.
  • Help make behavior changes easier and more instinctive.
  • Enhance feelings of self-acceptance, safety and emotional centering through mindfulness and loving kindness exercises.
  • Enhance confidence and decrease production of stress hormones using scientifically-supported 'power-posing' exercises.

Valentine's Day is not just for sweethearts, newlyweds or wedding anniversaries, though they deserve to be honored. Even if you don't observe the day in the traditional sense, it's a great reminder to celebrate the many faces of love.

Romantic love is wonderful. It's the stuff of epoch novels, music, poems and movies, but it's a mistake to believe you have to be in a romantic relationship, in order to have love in your life. If you don't happen to be part of a couple, there is no need to dread Valentine's Day. Look around you at all the love that is present in your life, at any moment, and celebrate it.

beth-sm" Guided imagery and meditation were among my closest allies and friends through 16 months of breast cancer treatment and side effects in 2009-2010.I felt as if my whole body's resources were gently recruited to counter the injury and agony in my chest and side. By spring of 2010, I could exercise again, and my body and spirit rejoiced in going swimming and beginning light, aerobic weights."—Beth Spring, Herndon, VA, cancer survivor. . . Read More

World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, is a truly global event, whose hefty mission is to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness about the disease and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action. In honor of World Cancer Day and to help accomplish its mission, Health Journeys is offering a special discount code 15WCD. . . Read More

According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) who initiated the event, the global cancer epidemic is huge and it is set to rise. Cancer cuts across demographic and geographic lines and affects every one of the world's communities.

We hope to spread the word about the use of guided imagery as a tool to help the UICC accomplish its initiatives in the 2015 campaign, titled Not Beyond us, which include developing innovative treatment modalities, achieving treatment for all cancer patients and maximizing their quality of life.

We hear so many stories, on a daily basis, from the brave souls who have benefited from guided imagery during their courageous battles with cancer that we decided they could do a better job of spreading the word than we could. So here they are, a sample of just a few of the stories, each of them an excerpt from an epoch tale of heartbreak, hope and triumph, so generously shared in the hope of helping someone else.

Often, the first phase of cancer treatment is surgery:

"My doctor gave me the Preparing for Successful Surgery CD. It helped me hugely to stay calm and positive before surgery. Now it helps me rest deeply, to envision and manifest my healing in mind, body and spirit, and to be open to receive the wisdom cancer has come to bring me."—Marie Antioch, CA . . . Read More

ester-smGuided imagery for cancer treatment:

Ester Leutenberg, Tucson AZ, Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

"My breast cancer was Paget's Disease. Only 4% of breast cancer is that.

Radiation was indicated. I always needed my husband Jay with me for a scary procedure. I was fearful and anxious of being alone in the room. He wasn't allowed in the room with me. So I had a brilliant idea – I knew about Belleruth's Radiation tape!

I tend to be claustrophobic in a situation like that, and from the first treatment to the 28th, I listened to her calm, soothing, wonderful voice relaxing me, and envisioned the sun healing me in that room where the lights were darkened and then very bright. I was able to have the radiation in a calm way. . . Read More

I cannot express how much a part of my healing your guided imagery, music and voice has been to me over the last ten years. I'm forever grateful to you for your amazingly loving and powerful work."—Lainey Hashorva, California, cancer survivor . . . Read More

"I had just been diagnosed with third stage uterine cancer. A diagnostic D&C was behind me; a total abdominal hysterectomy with 6 rounds of chemotherapy loomed.

When people ask how I 'beat' cancer, I list a number of things like acupuncture, herbs, chiropractic, the love of friends and organic food. But I always end with the words: get the chemotherapy CD at Health Journeys because you'll have the voice of an angel with you. Thank you, Belleruth."—Regina Leeds, Zen Organizer, Los Angeles, CA. . . Read More

"I was given your audio for surgery and also for cancer. Following 9 hours of surgery for Stage IV ovarian cancer, I also had 10 months of chemotherapy.

I listened to the cancer imagery twice a day, every day – once to the guided imagery track and once to the affirmations. I believe this was a critical piece of my healing."—Karen I. . . Read More

Many people are curious about the birth of Health Journeys' guided imagery, and they often ask us how Belleruth got the whole thing started. World Cancer Day is a good time to discuss Belleruth's journey, beginning with her first guided imagery audio program created to help a woman undergoing chemotherapy. . . Read More

Read more stories of hope and healing and catch up on the latest research about the effectiveness of modalities like guided imagery in the treatment of cancer patients and their loved ones here.

In honor of World Cancer Day and to help accomplish its mission, Health Journeys is offering a special discount code 15WCD. Use the code when ordering online or over the phone to receive 15% off the purchase price of CD's and MP3's until 2/15/15. The discount does not apply to Playaways, gift cards or sale items (packs).

As always, we love your stories and feedback and we extend our best wishes for health and happiness.

On Feb. 6, we are urged to wear red, to remind women to care for their hearts. National Wear Red Day was established by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, to raise awareness that heart disease, the number one killer of women, is 80% preventable.

As women, we nurture our mates, children, pets, friends, patients, clients, customers, students and numerous others, but do we devote as much time and energy to nurturing our hearts? The month of February gives us an opportunity to do just that, and to get the word out to others, beginning with something as pleasant and colorful as wearing red.

"All life events are formative. All contribute to what we become. As my friend Kenneth Koch once said, 'You aren't just the age you are. You are all the ages you have ever been."—Fred Rogers, from The World According to Mister Rogers.

It seems that children can find the magic in anything. They are content to experience winter while sitting in a stroller, under layers of warm clothing or delight in the tangible wonders of snow.

The same can be said of animals. Cindy's Huskies seem blissfully unaware of the cold. "I laugh at them every time I see one of them using a snow pile for a pillow - wish I liked the cold more," she said.

huskies2Children and animals seem to have a natural ability to be present in each moment and experience the beauty of it. Even in winter, they experience the magnificence of the moment, while we slog around in a winter funk and dream of spring. No matter how we try to embrace the season, we look at the calendar, the weather and above all, the loss of daylight, and we don't need a groundhog to predict that we will experience another two months of it.

We get such good ideas from you. We noticed some of you have been ordering Traci Stein's Creating Positive Change, along with audio programs like Belleruth's Weight Loss and Stop Smoking. What a great plan for change in the coming year!

No matter what change you would like to make, or what steps you take to achieve the desired results, adding Creating Positive Change to your repertoire serves to enhance your efforts. The audio program consists of one power-packed CD, with an audio track for use while you are awake, an affirmations track and a track to use during sleep.

Another great addition to your plans for positive change is Traci Stein's free report, Kicking the Habit: The Ten Keys to Positive Change. The report contains step-by-step instructions to help break even entrenched habits.

Aggressive schedules, resolutions and to-do lists are fine if they serve to make your life easier, happier and healthier. But whether or not you adhere to your schedules, there are things you can do right now to make your life a little lighter, and brighten the lives of those around you.

"Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind, we'll take a cup of kindness now for auld lang syne."

The Scottish tune, Auld Lang Syne, by Robert Burns, has become the most popular New Year's Eve song among English-speaking people. Auld Lang Syne simply means times gone by.

Confusion abounds about the meaning of the words of this song, but when we hear them, we feel nostalgic. We get the message that we should not forget old friends and if we have, it's good to 'take a cup of kindness ' for them and pretty much everyone else. We also get the message that the time to do it is now.

A cup of kindness is like an ounce of prevention and a little chicken soup. It can't hurt, and it beats a pound of cure any day. The time for this cup of kindness is now, which relates to presence—staying in the moment.

In her recent blog post, Scents, Sense and a Journey to the Land of OZ, Dr. Traci Stein discusses the benefits of aromatherapy and how some of her discoveries came about while she was working with Dr. Mehmet Oz.

"Because of their association with both memory and emotion, scents can be deliberately employed as tools for enhancing recall of new patterns and feeling states that we hope to foster," Traci states. "A pleasant aroma can be paired with hypnosis or guided imagery to further enhance the experience, and then the scent can be used independently to evoke the same inner state—whether of calm, self-confidence, commitment to change or restorative sleep."