Life can be stressful at times for everyone; however, dealing with the adverse effects of daily life and possibly past traumas can significantly elevate stress levels. Our brains are powerful and complex but, at times, can cause us a variety of mental health issues. Safe place imagery can be a powerful tool to help individuals control their negative mindsets.
Safe place imagery is utilized significantly during a therapy session to help patients feel safe and calm in any situation. Individuals who have experienced traumatic cases that have resulted in their world feeling unsafe can benefit significantly from relaxing safe place imagery. Additionally, it can further help individuals who have a relatively active imagination and often create severe worrying scenarios in their minds.
Our bodies and minds can often struggle to split reality from imagination when in a stressful or unpleasant situation. For example, take a moment to imagine your favorite memory with a loved one. Notice the smell of the environment, how does it look. Spend a good 30 seconds indulging in this imagery. Does it make you happy? Are you sitting there grinning but also feeling sad that it isn’t real?
Now imagine you are holding a pickle. Imagine licking the pickle. How does your mind and body respond? Does your body shiver? Does your face scrunch at the thought of the sour taste? The mind is an extremely powerful tool.
These two simple exercises can demonstrate to you just how extraordinary your mind and imagination can be. Images, however, have a significant amount more power than thoughts alone which is why it is beneficial to learn to control your mind.
You can train your imagination just like a muscle to ensure it works for you and never against you. Learning the skill of safe place imagery can further help you soothe and calm your emotions when you are in an unpleasant or stressful situation. Additionally, over time, this will build resilience, inner confidence and significantly increase your overall wellbeing.
Why is feeling safe so important?
Allowing yourself to feel safe is a vital component of being a human being. Back 400,000 years ago, most humans lived in tribes or very close communities, which allowed people to feel protected and safe while with others; however, this is no longer the society we live in.
In the technology era, we are highly connected; however, more people feel extremely disconnected. This can pose a real threat to our psychological and physical wellbeing, which has resulted in a lot of adults and young individuals developing several mental health issues such as:
- Unbalanced emotions
- Feeling on edge
Relaxing safe place imagery is all about creating a place within your imagination that allows you to feel safe and calm. Generally, familiar places that individuals choose to go to feel secure can include:
- Cozy cottage
- Tropical waterfalls
- Top of a snowy mountain
- Near a warm fireplace
Some individuals may choose or feel pushed to use their family home or a childhood environment; however, we would always advise against any place that may have caused a certain amount of grief or unpleasant feelings at one time in their lives. If you choose a current location as a safe place, it only takes for you to fight with a loved one associated with that place, and as quickly as that, your safe place has been spoilt.
Relaxing safe place imagery practice
Allow yourself to be in a comfortable position, whether that is lying down or sitting up. Sitting with your back against a wall, ensure a pillow fully supports you. Remember that if you begin to feel scared or anxious for any reason, all you have to do is open your eyes, touch the ground, and remember that you are in reality. You are in ultimate control of your mentality, and you are in control of today.
To begin your relaxing, safe place imagery practice, start by taking in deep, long breathes. Ensure you are breathing down into your diaphragm, hold it, and then exhale. When you exhale, you need to attempt to let go of your tension, let your mind be free. Allow the pressure within your body to shift out of you. Repeat this process until you begin to feel calmer and more relaxed.
While completing your breathing techniques, allow yourself to feel completely immersed within your relaxing, safe place. When you are ready, relaxed, and want to return to reality, wiggle your toes and fingers to let your mind and body gradually fade back.
Once you have finished your relaxing, safe place imagery practice, spend a short time reflecting on your experience. Write down how you are feeling afterward; this will allow you to read through your experiences and show you just how far you have come taking control of your mind.
Safe space visualization is a stress-reduction technique that you can utilize by imagining a safe, peaceful place where you can let go and relax. However, it is not as easy as it sounds to find that safe place that works for you and completely immerse yourself within that safe environment. So don’t give up; keep trying along with the breathing techniques.
Most individuals who utilize relaxing, safe place imagery will have a certain level of mental health disorder(s), whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. It can be easy to become overwhelmed by your negative thoughts, and at times self-soothing techniques like this will not always work. If you have tried safe place imagery and still feel you can not control your mental health, you may need to think about seeing a therapist. Here at Shoreline Recovery Center, we specialize in mental health rehabilitation, so give us a call today to speak to one of our dedicated team members.