Safety After Trauma

Have you experienced trauma in your life and now find yourself struggling to feel safe?  How do I feel safe in my world again? How do I feel safe in my own skin again?  How are the people I love to stay safe from harm?  These are a few of the many questions that may come across your mind.  Following trauma, safety is undoubtedly important and needed.

Let’s review some steps and ideas to build safety following a trauma….

Stay Grounded:

You may find that you have a difficult time being present, staying in the moment.  You may find yourself ‘checking out’ in order to avoid things that remind you of your trauma.   Do you ever feel as though you are just spinning or jumping from one thought to the next? The following are some suggestions on how to stay grounded and present:

  • Use your 5 senses:  take some time to identify what you are seeing/smelling/tasting/hearing and feeling in a given moment.  Focus on your five senses and all that comes with them and notice your focus change.
  • Spend a set amount of time in meditation.
  • Plant your feet firmly into the ground and take time to feel – notice the difference it makes when your feet are literally in the ground.
  • Go for a walk and be aware of your movements with each step you take.
  • Plan a day to spend with a friend and ask your friend to be sure you stay engaged.
  • Change your daily routine a bit.

Remember, safety comes in different forms:

Physical safety says that your body is not in danger.  To ensure physical safety, you need to pay attention to your environment, learn signals and remove yourself from situations that do not feel safe.  Mental safety says that your thoughts and beliefs will guide you in a safe direction.  Increase your self-awareness.  What are your thoughts and beliefs telling you about safety?  Emotional safety says that you are aware of your feelings and intuition and these will alert you when you are in danger.  Lastly, spiritual safety will develop when you learn to trust in your Higher Power and allow those beliefs to guide you toward safe choices.

Assess your Safety:

How safe do you feel: in your home, at work, in your relationships, within yourself?

Create a Safe Place:

Creating a safe place for yourself can be done in many ways; here are some ideas:

  • Through visualization- in your mind create a place that feels safe to you.  This can be a place you have been that feels safe or an imaginary place you create in your mind.  Create all the details in your mind: colors, shapes, smells, etc.   Allow yourself to go to this place when you are feeling unsafe or distressed, allow this place to ground you.
  • Through art- draw a picture of your safe place.   Don’t worry about artistic ability; it is more important how the picture makes you feel!
  • Through mindfulness and relaxation- Pursue techniques as modes to feel safe within yourself.

Do not doubt your desire to feel safe.  You are right in meeting this need!