The Safe Space – somewhere to go when you feel unsafe or overwhelmed, somewhere to go to bring you back to the present.
If you think about where you normally feel ‘safe’ where would that be? the first place for me personally is at home with my family. However, I have more recently found that a safe space for me is also about being outdoors in local woodland. There is something about the freedom, space and fresh air, the grounding feeling and calmness there that takes me away from day to day life and its ups and downs at home, and takes me to a very calming space that is neutral.
The safe space technique can be used as a grounding tool, when we feel like we are disconnected from our body, through pain, fear, distress. It is a great tool to learn to bring yourself back into the room after working with flashbacks or trauma. It can bring a sense of calm back to the body, a way of self-soothing that, if we practice often enough, regularly in our day to day lives, when we need to call on it, it is there for us like a faithful friend.
Think about your safe space…where would it be? Is it on a beach, in woodland, in your garden? There is no right or wrong for this, but it is important to choose one space, that for you feels like your personal safe space. This then enables you to take yourself there in times of stress through visualisation.
I will use my safe space as an example:
My personal safe space is by a tree on a hill in local woodland. When I feel stressed I visualise myself in my safe space, the feel of the surroundings, the stirring of the senses while I’m there, such as smells I experience, the sounds of the tree in the breeze, the colours and textures of nature. The intense feeling of calm that I start to feel when I visualise my safe space is profound. Research suggests that our brains connect to visualisations in the same way as if we are in the safe space in real time. It can only take a few minutes to connect to your safe space, and while you are there, say the mantra to yourself that you are safe, you are calm, you are ok.
There are, of course, guided meditations and walk through visualisations, apps you can listen to, if you find something with more structure more comfortable to work with. However, it is so important to your healing journey, if you can, connect to something that is deeply personal to you, without the need of external tools such as paper scripts or headphones.
I hope that you found this experience to be both easy to do, quick and focused, something that you could do at any time you are feeling anxious.