Creating Safety

What is Safety

Safety means feeling protected or sheltered from harm. To experience safety is to know that our well-being is secure. Feeling safe is the cornerstone of the healing process. When the environment around us is safe, we can feel relaxed and secure enough to take risks toward change and healing. Creating safety involves extending or building upon times in which we have all felt safer. As such the first step to building and creating safety is to first identify the things that help us feel safer.

Objects of Safety may Include:

  • Special people ( a trusted friend)
  • engaging in certain activities (working on a craft or hobby)
  • Being in a certain place ( such as outdoors in the sun)
  • Other examples of safety may include a teddy bear, a pillow, a piece of clothing or a picture

There are a number of things you can do to create safety for yourself.

  1. Develop a Symbol for the Present

In many cases feeling unsafe is connected to experiences from the past. When feeling unsafe, you may feel as if you are small, powerless or helpless, just as you were during the trauma. As such, it is often helpful to have a symbol for the present to remind yourself that you are no longer in the traumatic event and that things are different in the present. A symbol for the present can be anything you currently have that reminds you of your life today. Some examples of objects that can be used as a symbol for the present include car keys, pictures of your children, a wedding or engagement ring or even the mortgage on your house. When choosing a symbol for the present it is important that you try to find a symbol that you can carry around with you in your pocket or purse. If it is not possible, you can write your symbol for the present on a piece of paper and carry that piece of paper with you. Your symbol for the present can  be used whenever you are feeling unsafe or vulnerable. By touching and looking at your symbol for the present, you can reorient yourself to the present and remind yourself that you are in a safe environment.

2. Make a Safety Sack

A safety sack is a bag in which you may place some objects of safety. It is something that you can carry with you to help you feel safe wherever you go.

3 Make a Safety Collage

This involves making a collage out of things that represent safety to you. You may wish to use pictures from magazines to make your collage or you may opt to put together a collage of photographs of people and places that represent safety to you. Once you have made your collage, you can hang it up and look at it to help you get in touch with feeling safer whenever you require it.

4 Imagine a Safe Spot

Using your list of things that help you to feel safe as well as things that you associate with comfort and security.  Imagine a place where you can feel safe. Many people find it helpful to write down their image of a safe spot. When imagining a safe spot, try to use as much detail as possible. Describe the sights, sounds and colours that would be present in your safe spot. Whenever you are feeling unsafe, imagine being in your safe spot.

5. Create a Safe Spot

You can turn a room in your house or even a corner room into a safe spot for yourself. If you have a room that is a safe spot you may wish to paint it a colour that you can associate with comfort and security.  You can also place objects of safety as well as your collage in your safe spot. Whenever you are feeling unsafe, you can go to your safe spot and work on your breathing until you are feeling calmer.

6. Write out a Statement of Comfort and Security

On an index card write down some words or sentences that you nay think might help you feel safer when you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. For example: I am safe and there is nothing around me that is going to cause me any harm. I am an adult and I have the power and control over what happens to me. This card can be kept with you at all times and you can read it aloud or to yourself. (generally speaking it aloud is more powerful) when needed. Another option is to have someone you trust read it to you. Some people even choose to have close supportive, trusting, friends say statements of comfort and security into a tape recorder, I pad or any recording device so that they may play it back and listen to it when ever they are feeling unsafe.

7. Imagine a Force Field Around You

Imagine that there is a powerful force field surrounding you that is shielding you from harm. For those who have difficulty with safety at night, this can be a useful exercise

8. 5.4.3.2.1.

Name five things yu can see, five things that you can hear and five things you can feel (physical sensation). Then repeat with four, three, two and one thing. You can repeat items. This technique encourages you to become aware of your enviroment andto be here in the present.

9. 5,5,5

Breathing from your abdomen or diaphram inhale slowly to a count of five, pause and hold your breathe for five, then exhale to a count of five.

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