Grounding Activity for Anxiety: Creating a Safe Place:
How to Create a Safe Place in Your Mind
A safe place, mind sanctuary, or happy place is a mental location that you visualize to enhance your meditation and reduce your stress. Creating a safe place is a highly personalized and relaxing experience. Before you begin, it may be helpful to come up with an idea of what your safe place might be. As you meditate, you can visualize and move through your safe place. Your safe place is somewhere you can return to again and again, so it is important to make sure that you can find your way back there in the future. While it may take some practice, going to your safe place can become a natural and calming routine.
Developing Your Sanctuary
Brainstorm ideas.The goal of a safe place is to feel safe, happy, calm, and secure. To create your own mental safe place, you should try to come up with a place that makes you happy or secure. Look through old photographs, books, magazines, and pieces of art. Choose ones that give you positive emotions, and set these aside.
- Do you feel more at peace in natural settings, such as the beach or in a garden, or do you feel more secure inside a building, such as a castle or a house?
- Are there any quotes, poems, or stories that make you feel at peace?
- Do you prefer energetic and populated places or tranquil and isolated places?
Think of a time when you felt safe or happy.Your memories are one of the best places to find what makes you happy. Try to think of times when you were calm, happy, or peaceful. Pin down where these memories took place. It could be your grandma’s kitchen, the place where you married your spouse, a playground, or a favorite park.Ask yourself:
- Where did this take place?
- Who was with me?
- How old was I?
- Why does this make me happy?
Create different rooms.Your safe place can have several different sections, rooms, or compartments to allow yourself various places to go. These rooms can be organized by emotion, theme, or problem. These will allow you space to move through your safe space, and it can help you compartmentalize and deal with individual problems.
- For example, you may want to have a garden where you go if you are stressed from work. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious, you can travel from your garden into a tranquility room, where you can find peace. This might be an uncluttered room in light colors, such as lavender or soft blue.
- If your safe place is outside, you can still have different areas. For example, if your safe place is in a jungle, you can have one area that is by a great river, another that is up high in a tree, and another that is in a patch of flowers.
Fill it with your favorite people.While some people may prefer to have a quiet, isolated safe place, others might find it comforting to see friends and family members in their safe place. Think about people who make you happy, and imagine them greeting you in your safe place.
- If there are any deceased friends or family members who you would like to see again, you can imagine that they are in your safe place. You can have conversations with them or ask them for advice.
Engage all of your senses.Your safe place should not just be a scene that you see. Use all of your senses to imagine this mental sanctuary. Smell, sounds, touch, and taste can help you immerse yourself.
- What do you see? You might imagine trees, mountains, streams, or caves. There might be a garden or a library. If you have a favorite quote or mantra, you might imagine that it is posted to the wall of a room.
- What does it smell like? If you think of the ocean, smell the salt air. If you’re on a mountain, you might smell pine trees. If you’re in an old childhood home, you might smell baked goods.
- What does it sound like? You might hear the wind blowing through the trees or the gentle roar of the ocean. There might be birds chirping or wind chimes jingling.
- Imagine yourself touching your surroundings. What do you feel? Is it smooth, rough, gritty, or polished? Is it hot or cold? Hard or soft?
- Can you taste anything? If you imagine yourself sitting in a Parisian cafe, you might taste the bread. If you are on the ocean, you might taste the salty air.
Write down every detail.Once you have created your safe place, write down every single detail that you can recall. Describe it in great detail so that you can return to it easily whenever you need to go. If you prefer, you can draw, paint, sculpt, or video tape your description.
- What is the setting?
- What surrounds you?
- What colors do you see?
- How big or small is it?
- What sensations do you feel?
- Are there animals or other people there?
Going to Your Safe Place
Relax.Find a comfortable place where you can sit for fifteen to thirty minutes without being disturbed. This could be on a favorite chair, outside in the grass, or on a yoga mat. While some people prefer to meditate in a cross-legged lotus position, you can sit any way you like so long as you are not in pain.
- If you work in an office, you might want to close your door while you meditate. If you do not have a door, slip away to a bathroom, empty conference room, or to your car.
- If you lie down while you meditate, you may fall asleep.
Breathe deeply.Breathing is an important part of the process. It helps you relax and control your body as you go to your safe place. Start with a deep breath, and slowly exhale. With each breath, your breathing should become slower until you are calm and your muscles are relaxed.
- It may help you to visualize your breath coursing through your body to the pit of your stomach as you inhale. This will help you take deeper breaths.
Locate your inner peace.Focus on your breath to help you shut out the noise and distractions of the outside world. Keep doing this until you are able to focus on the stillness and silence of your mind. This is your zone of peace, and it can help reinforce the tranquility of your safe place.
Visualize your safe place.Close your eyes. Picture yourself standing in your safe place.If you cannot immediately find yourself there, picture yourself at the bottom of a staircase or at the beginning of a trail. Walk along this trail until you arrive at your safe place.
Release any negative thoughts.Try not to bring any negativity, anger, resentment, insecurities, or guilt into your safe space with you. Let go of them at the door. If you're having difficulty doing this, try using a mantra. Repeat the mantra until you no longer feel stressed, tense, angry, or upset.
- A simple mantra you can use is "Let go" or "I'm calm."
Move through your safe place.When you arrive at your safe place, walk through it until you find the room, area, or destination you’re looking for. Allow the safe place to come alive around you. Instead of a static image, let the leaves blow in the wind, birds fly in the air, or clouds float overhead. Take a hike through the mountain or rock in a hammock. These actions not only make the safe place seem more real in your head, but they provide calming relief to you as well.
- You are not limited to realistic actions either. If you want to fly through the air or swim through the depths of the oceans, you can do it, provided that it is a sensation that makes you feel peaceful and free.
Turn your fears into objects.If something is worrying you, you can deal with it in your safe place. Identify the problem and why it is worrying you. Allow it to take on a physical form or shape. It could be a rock, a marble, or a box. Now picture that object being destroyed or taken far away from you.
- For example, you might imagine your problems as appearing on a long piece of paper. Crumple up that paper and throw it in the trash. You can bury the paper, or you can tear it into many different pieces.
Returning to Your Safe Place
Read your description.To help you return to your safe place, you can start by looking back over your description of it. You can also look at any drawings, images, or tapes that you made about your safe place. Use these to help you re-visualize your safe place.
- It may be helpful to write down anything new you discover about your safe place as you develop it. Set aside five minutes after each meditation to write down or draw anything new you found or created during this session.
Play music.Find a relaxing song or recording that helps you visualize your safe place. This could be classical music, recordings of nature, chanting, or wind chimes. If you play this music every time you visualize your safe place, you will find that it helps you return there more quickly and effectively.
Choose a good time of day.There are certain times of day that are better for meditation than others. If you are going to make visualizing your safe place a regular habit, choose a time when you are neither distracted nor sleepy. If you find yourself falling asleep during your visualization, you may need to pick a different time.
- The morning, early evening, and lunch time may be ideal for meditating. If you try meditating before you go to bed, however, you may fall asleep.
Give yourself enough time.At the beginning, you may only be able to visit your safe place for three to five minutes at a time. This is normal. With practice, this period can become longer. You may be able to sustain your meditation for fifteen or thirty minutes.When you visit your safe place, make sure that you have at least twenty minutes when you will be uninterrupted.
- You should turn off all distractions, such as your phone. If you are expecting a phone call, you may want to save your visualization for later.
QuestionDoes the place have to be detailed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNot exactly, just enough to get it to feel like your personal "safe place" so you can relax.Thanks!
- If you find your mind wandering, you can catch yourself and guide yourself to return to your safe place. While some mind wandering is natural, you should try to focus on your safe place to prevent anxious or stressed emotions from surfacing.
- There is no one way to create a safe place. Everyone will have a different space. As long as it is relaxing to you, you are doing well.
- While many people imagine safe places as being isolated or out in nature, some people might find urban scenes to be more calming.
- If you have severe anxiety or depression, you should seek help from a psychologist or doctor. Visualization, while an effective complementary technique, can become more effective with professional help.
Video: Safe Place Visualization
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