top of page
  • Writer's pictureCandy Widdifield

Dear Candy Q & A: Discerning when an issue is limbic; Using Imagery to support recovery

Candy Widdifield

Aug 23, 2021

3 min read

Q: How does one determine if a symptom/it is limbic? I seem to get odd symptoms not seemingly related to anything but are definitely an issue and they seem to last weeks or months and at times longer. For example, I purchased new orthotics and they hurt my feet for many days even after the breaking in period, yet they are exactly the same as the previous ones only having new lining. There should be no issues at all and Dr. checked to make sure. Is this unreasonable symptom likely limbic then? How does one train on these types of its?

A: It is very likely that symptom is limbic. When things don't make sense (i.e. there is no reason to be reacting the way that your system is reacting), often it is because our brain has a pattern of association with something that is triggering the threat response and causing symptoms as a result. The other common indicator a symptom is purely limbic and nervous system related is when the pain moves around to different places as opposed to staying in one spot. In these cases, we want to remind ourselves that the symptoms are the result of our brain sending false messages, to redirect our negative thoughts & attention away from the symptoms, and do rounds of practice to change our pattern of association. You can also use the symptom as a trigger by bringing it to your attention right before doing rounds of practice, or doing rounds of practice as soon as you put on your orthotics.

Using Imagery to Support Recovery: Key Points

  • Imagery is sometimes called as visualization, mental rehearsal, covert practice & mental practice. It's all referring to the same thing.

  • It involves creating or recreating an experience in your mind, and is best practiced using all of the senses: visual, kinesthetic, auditory, tactile, and olfactory (smell), along with a positive feeling state of being in that experience.

  • We can use imagery in the first person (as though we are experiencing it ourselves) or third person (watching ourselves from the outside, like watching a movie). Both are effective.

  • It can be used to improve concentration & focus, enhance motivation, build confidence in our abilities, control emotional responses, acquire & practice strategies, cope with difficulties & solve problems.

  • Imagery can be used both in practice rounds or on its own.

  • Creating a positive, relaxed and confident feeling state is key.

  • To be most effective, it should be used daily. The more we do it, the more effective it becomes.

  • The more vivid we make it and the more focused we are, the more effective it is in changing the pathways and preparing the brain for change.

  • We want to aim for relaxed concentration, and always envision a positive outcome.

  • It can also be helpful to include coming up against hurtles or struggles, how we would handle them, and imagining things ending well.

  • If we struggle with “seeing” it, we can talk ourselves through it, still bringing in the senses and feeling it.

  • The use of imagery has been proven to enhance performance as well as set our brains up for success as we expose ourselves to things that were previously challenging and as we engage more actively in life.

Until next time!

If you have a question, please email me at


Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at


bottom of page