What makes you feel safe? What if you could trigger that safe feeling more easily? Let’s explore this together…
Okay… So when you reach for safety, what do you reach for? Write down the first thing you think of (food, a hug from a certain person, your bed, your pet, or your credit card): ____________________________________________________________
(Don’t worry if you have more than one, you can repeat this exercise more than once so you can tune into all of the good feelings!)
Imagine that you’re experiencing whatever makes you feel safe, and notice what you feel in your body (do you feel warm, relaxed, calmer, soothed)?
Can you notice that you actually feel better just thinking about it? You did great, you actually just soothed yourself!
I’m not at all suggesting that you give up your “safe thing”! But I am inviting you to notice that you could create some of that good feeling by tuning into the memory of it.
Imagination won’t replace the feeling of warm loving arms around you, yet connecting to the idea of warm loving arms can help you feel good.
What’s happening? You’ve associated that safe good feeling with an experience. And your brain mapped it, so you can trigger the dopamine, oxytocin, and other feel good chemicals by remembering or imaging the experience.
We often talk about the primitive brain having the intelligence of a small dog… And just like Pavlov’s dogs that learned to associate food with a bell and would get ready to digest it whether food was there or not… Your brain can create soothing just by thinking of the your safe thing!
That’s pretty powerful!
Now remember a time that was stressful. Maybe you were rushed or late, or made a mistake. Write down the first thing you think of (just a short description or key word is great).
Now notice what you feel in your body (do you feel tense, anxious, fearful?)
Can you see how strongly your body and mind respond to thoughts? How often do you feed your body worry/stress thoughts? (What’s your best guess for the number of times you did that today?) ______
And how many times today did you feed your body soothing thoughts? ________
I’m guessing that you gave it more worry and stress than soothing. Am I right?
What if you could build the muscle of feeding yourself soothing thoughts? And practice sending comforting chemicals to your body?
How would that change your day?
How would that change your life?
How would that change the lives of the 3 people closest to you?
Would you be willing to practice soothing thoughts today? Would you set your alarm for 30 mins, 60 mins, and 90 mins, and practice for 1 minute as your phone or alarm signals?
Just tune into your safe thing… Really allow yourself to feel those good feelings!
And now imagine that you had a radio dial and you could turn up the volume on those good feelings. Try turning it up one click, and notice how it feels. Then another. Go slow, and pay attention to when you start to feel anxious that you feel TOO good. Then turn it down one click and hang out there for the rest of the time left for that practice run.
We’d love to hear what you think about this! If you want to reply to this email (or post a comment on the website or our Facebook page) and share, we’d love to hear if this “lands” for you, and if so, what are you noticing?
We can’t reply to all the comments, but we do read every one!
Thank you for being such a rock star and testing this out with us. I hope it gave you insight and clarity for your day!
Cathy and Rick
P.S. If you really want to feel more safe, resilient, and confident, we recommend the Reprogram Your Primitive Brain course.