Mindful Mondays: Safe Space Meditation


F! Feeling Bad, let’s practice a safe space meditation!

 

 

Creating a safe space in your mind increases helps to boost your self-esteem, regulate emotions, and may reduce symptoms of trauma.


How

Prepare
  1. Find a physical space that is comfortable and private.
  2. Communicate with others that you will not be disturbed:
    1. Block your calendar.
    2. Turn off your phone.
    3. Lock the door.
  3. Choose a positive affirmation. You can write your own, or choose one from my list:
    1. I am enough,
    2. I am deserving of love,
    3. I am in the right place at the right time doing the right thing (Louise Hay)
    4. Conscious breathing is my anchor (Thich Nhat Hanh)
    5. The perfect moment is this one (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
    6. I am deliberate and afraid of nothing (Audre Lord)
    7. Nothing can dim the light that shines within (Maya Angelou)
    8. I am still learning (Michelangelo?)
    9. You must do things you think you cannot do (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Practice
  1. Find a relaxed posture, sitting, standing, or lying down.
  2. Take some cleansing breaths, melt into your posture, shake out any stiff areas.
  3. Close your eyes if you’re comfortable doing so—if not find a space to stare at across the room that isn’t another person…don’t be creepy.
  4. Build/revisit your sanctuary safe space while you breath slow, steady belly breaths:
    1. Look around and notice what you can see
  1. The vibrant, saturated hues and the muted, shaded colors
  2. How are the textures different across the things you see on the ground, in the distance, up above you?
  • What fills you up to the point of noticing the back of your eyes?
    1. What do you hear? Which sounds are the most soothing? Do you feel them on your skin, in your chest? How are they affecting your muscles?
    2. Shift your focus to what you can smell and allow it to wash over you, lightly touching your skin and calming your muscles.
    3. As you observe the sensations in your body, bring the experience of all five senses together and exist in that space.
    4. After you settle into that space, begin reciting your affirmations in your head or aloud.
    5. When you are ready, open your eyes and observe your surroundings.

 


Why

Having a safe space in your mind contributes to inner peace and emotional stability. You are creating your own soft place to land that you can access from anywhere at almost any time. As you practice mindfully accessing it, you will get better at escaping harmful thoughts and feelings. It also provides a place to go in your mind where you can work toward feeling comfortable being yourself.

Practicing positive affirmations while in your safe space in your mind is slightly different than simply reciting them throughout the day without the imagery. When you are in a safe space, creating a comfort with being yourself, you are more open to receiving the words and adopting the message.

Observational mindfulness is a great tool for increasing agency, which is confidence in your ability to be effective in any situation (the opposite of anxiety). Because of this, it is extremely helpful in overcoming the negative consequences of gaslighting from narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. Up until now, I have explored observational mindfulness from the environment you are in, but in this mindfulness practice you are observing yourself. This is the next level of building trust in what you perceive to be true.

As with every mindfulness practice, you are creating and reinforcing neural pathways in your brain every time you escape to your safe place. By forging these bonds between neurons, you are increasing the likelihood that the effects of being in your safe space will transfer to other situations by just remembering being there. Further, because you are more open to the affirmations, the different perspective is more accessible—instead of operating from “I’m not worth it,” you might begin filtering your experiences through the idea that you are enough. You might notice feelings of joy becoming more accessible and/or feelings of anxiety reducing.

Finally, research has shown that physical safe spaces can be perceived as psychologically or emotionally unsafe if you are overwhelmingly anxious. When you are so intensely distracted, the ability to find trust or confidence in all real-life situations is threatened. As such, creating a safe space in your mind has the potential to provide relief, if only slightly, during times of intense anxiety.


References and Further Reading

40 Positive Affirmations to Add to Your Daily Rotation

Mindfulness Skills for Trauma and PTSD: The Safe Place, the Container, and Mindfulness Reflections

Present Tense: Trauma-Informed Mindfulness to Heal from the Past and Cope with the Present

Self-Practice of Stabilizing and Guided Imagery Techniques for Traumatized Refugees via Digital Audio Files: Qualitative Study


If you are interested in increasing your ability to regulate your emotions, move through the world more purposefully, and manage overwhelming anger and anxiety, consider registering for updates on upcoming programs, check out other videos and podcasts, stay up to date on groups and events, and sign up for your free consultation.


Disclaimer: This content is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for mental health treatment. It is important for survivors of abuse to find mental health professionals who understand trauma and abusive relationships. Please seek support from trusted and trained practitioners. This content is not meant to be used by anyone as diagnostic criteria. Permissions have not been granted for anyone to utilize this material as a source to make allegations about specific individuals. Any online content produced by Michelle Minette and F! All That Wellness Coaching is an educational discussion about narcissism which is a descriptive term for tendencies and behavioral patterns. Individuals with narcissistic features or tendencies do not necessarily meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. The terms narcissistic and narcissism are used as descriptions of tendencies and behaviors and are not meant as clinical terms.