Let’s self-soothe for a few moments. This is a delicious exercise to do. When you get really masterful at it, you can use this anytime you begin to feel anxious, upset or angry. It’s a visualisation exercise. If it feels odd at first, just acknowledge that feeling but go with the flow if you can. If you are reading this blog in a rush, please stop. Come back when you can offer yourself more time, you’ll need about 6-8 uninterrupted minutes.
The idea of the safe (or peaceful) place is to recreate in your mind a picture of a place, as if it’s on a postcard. Your aim is to ‘step into’ this place – the rule is: nothing bad happens here. This ‘stepping in’ is done in a particular way. First choose a place, preferably outside, somewhere that you have feelings of safety or peace. Spend some time choosing this place. It can be from your childhood, a back garden, a park, up a mountain, on a beach, anywhere that you can imagine or remember well.
Close your eyes and ask yourself, in this place:
- What time of day is it?
- Am I sitting, lying down or standing?
- What do I see, what things, what colours?
- What do I hear?
- What do I feel on my body (eg the sunshine or maybe a breeze)?
- What do I smell?
- What do I taste?
Bring up as much description for yourself as you can, please don’t rush it.
Try, everyday, to spend time practising this exercise, 10-12 times a day. Once you have decided on the details, keep the elements the same even if you want to add to them (eg keep the same time of day but you might bring in some birdsong that you suddenly remember). Once you have mastered this exercise, bring it up whenever you start to feel anxious, watch your anxiety melt away.
Soon we will put this exercise with a muscle relaxation exercise which will feel really powerful for you. For the time being, get really practised at your safe place.