How to Feel Safer, Be Safer in An Unsafe World

To be safer, we need to decrease actual threats and increase actual resources. To feel safer, we need to stop inflating threats and start recognizing all our resources. Then we don’t have to be afraid of not being afraid. Rick Hanson, PhD

It’s not just survivors of specific types of individualized trauma who often feel unsafe emotionally. It’s also every one of us who has lived through the high-level stress of recent national and worldwide events, never knowing when and how we’ll be dodging the next assaults. How do we address ways to be safer and to feel safer?

In 2015 Cynthia Kane, Washington Post, wrote about “three ways to help yourself feel safe in an insane world” (click on the link for details):

  1. Believe in Yourself: bolster self-confidence with motivational self-talk, for example
  2. Accept Uncertainty: a common life condition
  3. Be Present: that’s where your life is

“We’ll never be able to completely erase the worry and anxiety that keep us from feeling safe, but the more we return to these practices, the more quickly we will be able to return to feeling secure faster,” concludes Kane.

Following the 2016 election Robyn E. Brickel, MA, LMFT, had her own take on finding safety. She suggested the following eight ways. (Again, there’s more info at the link.)

  1. Remember your own self-care skills. 
  2. Grieve.
  3. Surround yourself with the people who make you feel supported and safe.
  4. Help the greater good.
  5. Be a safe space.
  6. Smile and honor those who just want to be loved.
  7. Keep a gratitude journal.
  8. Remember that NO means NO.

More recently Donna Sozio, Ecosalon, described “two powerful techniques to feel safe in the world again” (more at the link):

  1. Reclaim your emotional freedom: Being in the present, cultivating gratitude,and  helping others are some of the strategies to do this.
  2. Learn how to navigate your inner world: Relaxation techniques as well as becoming more aware of one’s physical and mental processes are two of the factors involved.

The article recommends, among other things, the “Four Questions and Turnaround” technique by Byron Katie. You can go to www.thework.com for further instructions about this type of meditation, but the distillation involves four simply stated steps:

  1. Notice (what you’re feeling)
  2. Write (the related thoughts)
  3. Question (address one related question and try to answer it)
  4. Turn It Around (are opposite thoughts truer? or not?)

Bottom line related to Sozio’s tips: “The more you remember that you control your inner emotions and reactions to outside events, you can reclaim your emotional security and feel safe in our world again.”

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