I’ve written about how hard Mindfulness can be… and whilst this blog is new, me rambling on about Mindfulness and the need to feel safe first isn’t because one of the very first things I teach all my clients is safe space work.
Safe space work wasn’t ever really considered in my coaching or hypnotherapy training but once I started to work and train in trauma it was drilled in to us. A person must have adequate resources in place before they access the memories of trauma events… however to me, with my background in child development, it made sense that actually we all need to feel safe. If we have an insecure attachment developed in infancy then our whole limbic system has been shaped to not feel safe… Our actual brain structure built to view the world as unsafe before the age of 2!
So we do safe space work. Its beautiful and also once you close your eyes it’s not where you think it’s going to be. In fact I’d say 90% of my clients who say they know where they’re going to use end up being in a totally different place one they close their eyes.
The purpose of this exercise is it begins to create new neural pathways of safe feelings which can be used, and importantly, reinforced when activated. Use it when triggered to send signals to your brain that there’s no need for alarm. You’re literally retraining your brain.
I use a different exercise with children which I’ll post up too.
Read through completely first!!
Or you can work with a partner and get them to read through it while you tell them what you’re seeing.
- Find somewhere quiet to sit
- Close your eyes and deep breath in.
- Now bring to mind a place where you feel completely safe, calm and still.
- It can be real or made up! Our brain doesn’t recognise the difference so we can exploit this.
Now begin to talk out loud:
- Describe what you see
- What you hear
- Time of day
- The weather
- What you’re wearing
- How you feel
- What you can smell
- What the colours are
- Use all your senses to bring the place alive
You’re now going to activate Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) by crossing your arms over your chest and tapping on the opposite bicep left right left right.. keep tapping… keep your eyes closed.
You’ll feel your eyes flicker. This is rapid eye movement as your brain begins to process this safe space. Keep your eyes closed through out the process with all your focus on this place you’ve created that makes you feel safe.
Tap for 60 seconds.
You’ve created your safe space. You’ll be able to recall it even with your eyes open. Use it as much as you can and try to remember to use it when triggered in order to deactivate your fight/flight response.