Life is stressful, so having safe spaces is essential. Having a back-up plan of safe spaces is very helpful when you’re in a potentially de-stabilizing situation. Having safe people and safe spaces can be very helpful, but not always realistic. So, when external safe spaces are not available, here’s how to create 12 multisensory safe spaces for internal safety & stability.
Important: This article has resources about restoring wellness, and is based on my research and my experiences. This information is not meant to take the place of counseling or therapy. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or need to talk to someone, wellness resources can help you find a counselor and other resources that may be helpful.
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What is Safety?
First, to get a bigger picture of safety, what’s does unsafe usually mean?
Unsafe = fear, danger, risk, harm
So, fear would be opposite of feeling safe. I am usually afraid when I am in danger, or feel like I am in potential danger.
Being around toxic people, conflict interactions, and tense environments can seem potentially dangerous and risky.
De-stabilizing situations can cause a person’s reaction to spiral, increasing in anxiety, triggers, fear, addictive patterns, and unhelpful behaviors.
So, now let’s tackle what safety usually means:
Safe = protected, unharmed, secure,
- Being in a safe environment
- Having safe people around you
- Making safe choices
- Having an inner peace of safety and stability
- Feeling comfortable to be yourself
- Having confidence to follow your dreams
Now that we understand what safety is, we can focus on how to create safety.
I came away from a Sandtray Therapy training with a playlist of our favorite anthem songs. These songs lift me up, give me hope and stability, and surround me with safety. These songs are now part of my back-up plan to lift me up when I’m in a de-stabilizing situation.
This reminds me of how Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step Addiction Recovery Groups focus on always having a back-up plan. So, when a recovering alcoholic is feeling tempted, their back-up plan includes having 10 people ready to call to help them.
It’s important that these 10 people give encouragement, hope, and a reason to stay on track.
Just like back-up plans give:
- A way to stay safe
Moms Carry Back-Up Clothes
How many moms carry back-up clothes for their little ones in their diaper bag? The back-up clothes sure come in handy when your little one gets all messy and suddenly has to change.
Having a back-up plan is like having an extra set of clothes to wear when you spill coffee all over you. Back-up plans can help when you’re feeling unsure, surprised, or scared.
Unique Multisensory Safe Spaces
Check out these 12 ways to create safe spaces, each with specific examples and ideas. Then maybe you will be able to find ways to create your own personalized safe space.
In the list below, there are style attributes in parenthesis ( ) listed next to each safe space, These attributes describe different learning styles and unique qualities people prefer. Sometimes, people need a coping skill that matches their learning style or unique preference.
Multisensory approaches can meet people’s unique needs, offering specific coping skills for different situations.
Other times, it can help to try something new, especially if you’re in a dry spiritual season of life. Life transitions bring new changes and a need for learning new coping skills.
Create 12 Multisensory Safe Spaces in Mind, Body, and Spirit
May these coping skills bring you peace, safety, and stability to move forward and grow on your journey of life.
1. Playlist of Songs: empowering(music/auditory, spiritual/mindfulness)
- Start with 1 favorite song, add a 2nd inspiring song, add a 3rd comforting song
- Sing out loud, helps gain mastery and empower confidence
- Write the words out to your favorite 3 songs, these are your theme songs
2. Affirmations (mind/mindfulness, verbal, auditory)
- Empowering Affirmations
- Kind Affirmations
- Positive Affirmations
- Self-Compassion Breaks
3. Body movement = Symmetry moves, bi-lateral stimulation (body/kinesthetic, spiritual/mindfulness)
- Walking, moving each leg and each arm
- Hug – give yourself a hug, wrap your arms around your chest & shoulders, tap your shoulders, squeeze yourself withlove
- Yoga poses — Child’s pose
4. Go outside (sensory, spiritual/mindfulness)
- Touch a tree
- Feel the air/wind
- Sit in the sunshine
5. Meditations (mind, spiritual/mindfulness, verbal, auditory)
- Apps — Hearing a calm voice lead you through a meditation
- Affirmations– reading them out loud to yourself
- Self-Compassion Affirmations– read & write them for yourself
Insight Timer app
6. Grounding (spiritual/mindfulness)
- Grounding steps – intentionally walk, firmly place each foot on the ground
- Feet on the ground/floor – Place your feet firmly on the floor, being present
- Sit on the ground/floor– Feel the ground beneath your seat
7. Body Scan (body, mindfulness)
- Notice tense & relaxed parts of your body
- Start at your head and work your down towards your feet.
- Moves your thoughts focusing on your body and gets the thoughts out of the cycle stuck in your head.
8. YouTube: Meditation Relax Music (auditory/music, spiritual/mindfulness)
- Watch calming scenes of nature
- Hear beautiful calm music
- Relax your mind and emotions
- Signing bowls
- Flowing water
9. Hands-on activities: both hands (kinesthetic/body)
- Play dough
- Draw with the opposite hand
10. Mini Nature (outdoors/spiritual) (sensory/touch, spiritual/mindfulness)
- Stones, gems, rocks, sea shells – feel how smooth, calming
- Tea lights, candles, string of lights– see the light and feel hope
- Mini-sandtray, Zen sandtray– touch the sand, be present
11. Visual Encouragement (visual, kinesthetic/writing)
- Write down encouragement on color note cards
- Hopeful Scriptures
- Positive Affirmations
- Visual sketches
12. Comforting objects (sensory)
- Weighted blanket
- Energy bracelets
What Creates Safety for You?
So, why not come up with list of resources that create safety. Start with familiar resources that feel safe, empower hope, and encourage you. Then brainstorm ways that could be calming, kind and caring to yourself.
Real Life Application:
Considering the 12 Multisensory Safe Spaces:
- Which is the most helpful?
- What resources help you feel safe?
- How does these resources help you feel calm?
- What resources help create a comfortable space for you?
- Which resources empower you and help you feel confident?
- What fills you with hope and inner peace?
- Which safe space are you the most likely to use?
Write these items down, you’ll be more likely to remember them and actually use them.
How was this information helpful?
I hope these 12 Multisensory Safe Space ideas are helpful for you, creating a sense of safety and peace right when you need it. If this information is helpful, please share it with a friend.
I’d love to hear from you and how these 12 safe spaces help you.
Join the Wellness Tribe
I’d love to hear about your journey towards wellness! What obstacles are in your way towards wellness? What helps you gain wellness?
I hope you join us on your journey of improving your wellness. This tribe is a gathering place to improve wellness & connections, receive life-giving coping skills, and restore health in mind, body, and spirit.
Need help finding a counselor?
If you need someone to help to talk to, counselors and mental health professionalscan help provide support resources on:
- time management
- stress management
- relaxation skills
- goal setting
- personal development
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