Guided creative visualization with Dr. Martin Rossman to worry properly, relax deeply, and sleep naturally

Happy Sleepy Bolt resting under a palm tree
Happy Sleepy Bolt resting under a palm tree on the beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama, 2014.

The videos in this post are free lectures and guided meditation sessions created by Dr. Martin Rossman.

The videos in the first half of this article explain how our brains and bodies actually work, why and how to use creative visualisation and why it is so powerful, as well as what sleep even is, how it works, and how to love sleeping again if insomnia and worry are interfering.

The shorter sessions in the second half are simple guided visualizations that help you create and inhabit a happy place in which to rest and heal and from which to tackle anxious worrying and find practical solutions to very real and pressing problems - but only AFTER our bodies are relaxed and are minds are prepared to do the work.

How to use simple yet profound skills to corral the huge creative powers of our brains to find real, practical solutions vs fuelling run-away worry and anxiety 

This video is a lecture by Dr. Martin Rossman, a physician, author and guided imagery pioneer, to a group of medical students at the University of California. He explains the basics of the neurology, hormones, and other body and mind processes that make up our sympathetic system responsible for the "fight or flight" responses in our lives as well as the lesser known parasympathetic system responsible for restorative functions, often called "rest and digest".

Even if you know all these facts already, just listening to the lecture is supportive and soothing although the real benefit of this talk comes from the inclusion towards to end of an actual practical guided visualization session.

The guided session part in the above video starts at 1:05:55.

Happy Sleepy Bolt resting on a tree branch at the beach
Happy Sleepy Bolt resting on a tree branch at the beach

The kind and patient sounding voice is also known as Dr. Marty and he is credited that way sometimes in the many online videos and other resources available online, and doubtless in the notes and minds of the many medical students in various schools who have been lucky enough to receive an in person lecture about awakening the healing powers within all of our bodies and especially if they earnestly participated in one of his visualization sessions.

What is sleep, what it does, why we need it, and how to remember how to sleep deeply

In this 40 minute minute video Dr Martin Rossman tells you what sleep even is, why you need it, assures us that our bodies already know how to relax and to sleep, and the few steps we can take to allow these natural processes to simply happen.

Mr. Marty does mention things like "sleep hygiene" but you will note if you have come upon this before that his methods are much more general and much less specifically prescriptive and all focus on bringing ease and relaxation into the system rather than anything like discipline.

A pink stuffed animal sits on a branch overlooking golden sand and the white foam of a wave is just coming in below. There are shadows on the smooth sand from the branch and leaves above.
Happy Sleepy Bolt resting on a tree branch at the beach

Guided visualisation to use the creative mind properly and to turn the brain off

The guided sessions by Dr. Marty are published by the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and are available, as well as dozens of others, in their Meditation & Mindfulness for Stress & Anxiety section.

(Other sections include guides for exercise, body rehabilitation, many informative lectures on a variety of medical and social topics and the Body of Wonder podcast hosted by Dr. Victoria Maizes and Dr. Andrew Weil.)

Positive worry aka tension release and refocus session

Is your system overwhelmed and you'd like the mind to race in a useful direction? Maybe multiple life crisises at once, grief, shock,  or maybe "only" a creative block?

This is the session for you to learn/be reminded how to properly use that big powerful brain.

Rest and recharge deep relaxation session 

Is your mind racing and calculating, with worries or welcome excitement,  and you just want the mind to STOP? Feeling wired but exhausted? Need sleep vacation meanwhile don't have the time for even a nap?

This is the session for you to use the power of the mind to turn on the resting capacity of the body - I call it "sleep XTRM".

After finding these videos, we also went to Dr. Marty Rossman's website and purchased a specific for sleep set of guided imagery. After gaining so much from all the freely distributed guided sessions, I didn't mind paying such a relatively small fee for a neatly bundled handful of audio files.

Free resources are also available in their full section of audio and video lectures and guided meditations for reducing stress, falling asleep, and turning on the body's own healing and restoring properties.

Happy Sleepy Bolt
Happy Sleepy Bolt on the beach in Panama. The shiny PVC makes it look like he's sweating, but he's cool.

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