The Power of the Subconscious Mind

Guided imagery can help enhance your tactical, professional, personal and intrapersonal skills. It could save your life and your sanity.


Here are some situations you can tackle with your subconscious.

  • For law enforcement scenario training put yourself at a scene. You are at a warehouse, an armed, third stiker suspect is reportedly holed up inside. He is a suspect in a triple homicide.
  • You have decided you want to be a sergeant, you are about to take the test. The promotion is something you have dreamed about for seven years. You have a history of performing poorly on written tests, especially when you are under pressure.
  • You are at maximum stress capacity. You have worked 10 days in a row, the kids have the flu, your wife has been laid off, your in-laws are coming for a week, and your beat partner switched watches. You just need to relax and to get into a better place, even just for awhile.
  • Things are actually going exceeding well professionally, personally, and interpersonally, and you want to keep them going that way.

Slowly embrace the situation, using all of your senses to determine where you are, what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Feel in tune with your surroundings. Focus on the goal for this exercise; to enhance your skills and performance; or to promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Using your imagination walk your way through the scenario, from approaching a warehouse to lying on a sandy beach. You can stay in the scenario as long as you want. When you are done, and your goal has been accomplished, count down from ten to one, telling yourself that at one you will feel relaxed and alert. When you get up take another mental note related to how relaxation and confidence really feels. You will be able to recall that feeling later, in your conscience state, when you need it most.

You should allow 10-20 minutes to complete relaxation techniques and guided imagery. Prepare a script and read it out loud before you begin. The script should be complete, with a beginning and ending, and should utilize all five of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Tape the script and then play it back to yourself, or have someone read it to you until you know the script by heart. Guided imagery works with groups as well.

Remove distractions; turn off the phone, television, radio, etc. Get comfortable; sit on a chair that has a back, or lie on a bed or a mat. Remove binding clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc. Do not cross your arms or legs. You may want to close your eyes.

Use deep diaphragmic breathing (lowering your diaphragm allows the lungs to expand further); breathe in deeply through your nose, hold your breath, and blow out through pursed lips, repeat, repeat, etc. Next, work on relaxing your entire body by using progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Start with your head and work your way down, focusing on large muscle groups. For example, raise your eyebrows up toward the top of your skull, hold, and then slowly relax your face. Push your shoulders together in front of and behind you, hold, and slowly relax your arms. Do similar exercises for your entire body: jaw, neck, upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs, abdomen, hands/fingers, and feet/toes. Take a mental note of the difference between tension and relaxation states of the muscles. If any of your muscles remain tense, rework that area. Take several more deep diaphragmic breaths. Count down from ten to one, telling yourself that with each number you will feel even more relaxed.

When you are completely relaxed go through your script. Again, it is imperative that you always have a successful outcome. The criminal surrenders, with or without force, and you sustain no injuries. You ace the test, and feel confident in your leadership skills. You feel as relaxed as you would after a full day at the beach.

When you have completed your script and your goal for the session has been accomplished you can return to the here and now. Count down from ten to one, telling yourself that at ONE you will feel relaxed and alert. When you get up take another mental note related to how success, confidence and relaxation make you feel. You will be able to recall that feeling later, in your conscience state, when you need it most. If you were not very successful on your first try, try and try again.

  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.