Reclaim your inner sense of safety and be at peace in the world with these two powerful life changing techniques.
I used to be afraid of flying. But why was I nervous, sweating and afraid for my death while the passenger next to me was totally at ease enjoying the free wine and in-flight movies?
We were both in the same situation; hurtling 600 mph through the air 30,000 feet about sea level. Then it hit me. Perhaps, feeling safe isn’t about what’s happening outside in the world. Maybe it’s an inside job and inner shift that I can make.
Today, everywhere I look there are jarring “life-threatening” news headlines and evocative Facebook posts that shake me to my core. But that’s not how I want to feel everyday of my life. I want to feel safe and secure in the world I live in.
To learn how to make this powerful inner shift, I went to two experts and asked their advice.
This is what I learned:
1.Reclaim your emotional freedom.
Judith Orloff MD and author of “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life,” says, “The great spiritual challenge for us all is how to feel safe in a sometimes unsafe world. In ‘Emotional Freedom’ I discuss the paramount importance of not surrendering to fear. The more attention you give fear the more it grows. The way I suggest my patients achieve a feeling of being safe and conquer fear is to stop catastrophizing the worst-case scenarios whether it be in areas of health, relationships or the greater world. The secret to feeling safe is to stay in the now, focus on the gratitude in your life and how you can be of service to others and the world. Take control of your fearful thoughts and say, ‘Thank you for sharing’ but do not let them gather momentum. This is the secret to emotional freedom.”
2. Learn How to Navigate Your Inner World
Sabrina Weyeneth, Psychotherapist LMFT, BACP, explains, “It can be hard to feel safe in a world where everything keeps changing and nothing is ultimately permanent. And the more we read frightening news headlines, the more anxious we become because those frightening thoughts or images in our heads trigger anxious sensations in the body.
“The good news is that the feeling of safety isn’t necessarily linked to the outer world. It’s actually linked to our inner world. If you’ve ever felt panicked in the middle of the night when you’re actually snug and safe in your bed, you’ll know it’s not an external situation that’s the source of your suffering but the thoughts and images conjured up by your mind, which in turn trigger difficult sensations in the body. The body can’t distinguish between a real threat in the outside world and an imagined threat in our heads.
“Which means the quickest path to the feeling of safety is to become experts at navigating our inner worlds. How do we do that? Firstly, we have to get better at tolerating what we might perceive as unpleasant sensations in the body. If we’re frightened of certain mood states or feelings, we’ll tense and brace against them which only serves to make them stronger. Instead, the job at hand, is to practice opening into difficult sensations in the body – befriending them and gradually relaxing into them. It’s like going to the gym to build up muscle, but these kinds of muscles are based on the ability to relax rather than contract. The better we get at opening into what the mind might initially label as painful (sensations associated with sadness, anxiety, fear, panic, jealousy, loneliness) the less our sense of safety gets compromised and the less those sensations feel problematic. In short, with practice we can learn to feel safe even in the midst of challenging sensations.
“Secondly, the journey to feeling a sense of ease and safety in the world is accelerated when we also learn to work with our thinking, since it’s often our thoughts that fuel our bodily sensations. This part of the work is all about recognizing thoughts as just thoughts and not necessarily attaching, or believing, every thought that pops into our heads. Or every news headline for that matter! Mindfulness training is helpful in strengthening that ability to witness thoughts, like clouds passing in the sky. If we have a tendency to go on autopilot and forget that our stressful thoughts aren’t necessarily true, actually writing down those thoughts and questioning them in a structured way can be very effective. Byron Katie’s “Four Questions and Turnaround” technique which you can find for free at www.thework.com, is one of the more effective ways of dealing with difficult thoughts and creating more feelings of ease in your life.”
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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