Over the last couple weeks the 1992 Bobby Brown song, Get Away, has been ringing in my mind. “I gotta get away, I gotta get away, I gotta get away.” It seemed that no matter where I turned or where I looked I was being triggered by things that were on the news, on social media, or the topics of discussion. I’ve noticed that a full spectrum of ideas and opinions often fail to exist (or at least be expressed) with many “hot button” topics and instead the majority of people fall at polar opposite sides. This polarity, along with the fact that many people are not listening to hear, but to gain ammunition to attack, makes for tense, emotional, and often very activating circumstances. And while escape was my primary desire, I fully understood that I couldn’t simply leave; and I know I am not alone in this experience.
On one hand, it would seem to be reasonable that people who are overwhelmed by current affairs could turn off the news, minimize their engagement on social media, and disengage from conversations, but there are numerous reasons people are hesitant to do those things. Whether their job puts them in constant contact with the happenings of the world or their own personal convictions and interests necessitate their constant involvement, people who fall on both sides and those who line the middle could benefit from respite and giving their minds and bodies rest from the continuous stimulation. What many people fail to understand is that the triggering that they are experiencing is not a cognitive experience, but first manifests in the body. Our historical experiences are being activated by current circumstances and causing many of us to go into Flight, Fight, Freeze, or Faint. This means that when we begin to communicate about the things that are happening around us, we are doing so from a survival perspective and not from logic or reason. Only when our brains experience safety can we access the thinking part of our brains.
So how can we experience safety during times of personal, professional, and political distress? We can create for ourselves a Secure Internal Space. I would like to offer you the opportunity to create an experience of safety and security in your mind that will be accessible to you at all times and can give your mind and body the escape they need to rest and recalibrate.
In a quiet, or mostly quiet, place allow yourself to sit comfortably and either close your eyes or soften your gaze toward the ground.
Take deep belly breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth
Think of the safest, most secure place you can conceive – real or imagined
In your mind’s eye notice what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste
Interact with this place as if you are really there
If there are elements in this place that you don’t like, remember you have control and can remove them
While continuing to take deep breaths, notice how relaxed and calm your body feels
When you are ready, slowly begin to reintegrate yourself back into your seat and open your eyes
Even though you created this place in your mind, your brain and body will respond as if you are truly there. The more you do this exercise the more real this place becomes, the easier you will be able to access it, and the more you can have a safe and secure place for respite. So next time you feel triggered go to your Inner Secure Place and take a break. This does not come easily to many people and for some it doesn’t work at all, and that’s okay. Deep breathing and affirmations to yourself can work well as well. For those having a difficult time, but still desire to create this space for yourself, I will do a guided imagery walk-through on our #TherapyThursday video this week.
If you’ve been triggered and activated lately and need help working through what has been coming up, Labors of Love would love to assist you. Contact us on our website, www.thelaborsoflove.com.