Creating Sensory Safe Spaces
Surround yourself with messages of care, support, and loving encouragement. Make a space in your home to collect and display plants, rocks, pictures, important symbols or objects, and your own artwork. Allow that space to become a source of support for you that you can access to help you experience a state of calm, at ease, connected. You can heal.
Grounding (Co-Regulation with the Earth)
One of my favorite ways to check in with my nervous system is through the practice of grounding. There are many ways to engage in grounding, but I find most benefit from connecting directly with the earth.
Tips for a grounding/earthing practice:
- Find a space where you can be barefoot and in direct contact with the ground, or sitting against a tree.
- Notice and attend to the sensation of support where your body meets the surface it is in contact with. Invite the sensation of gravity.
- Invite in a deeper breath and with each exhale, allow the body to find a deeper connection with the surfaces of the earth. Bring your attention to the sensation of connection.
- If you need to release energy, you can experiment with tapping, drumming, dancing, and jumping on the earth with your hands or feet
- If you need to bring in more energy, you can experiment with pressing your hands to the floor, or even lying down with your belly directly on the earth
- Visualize a strong system of roots extending from your nervous system into the root structure of the earth, using your breath to take in energy and release and transmute energy, coming into co-regulation with the earth.
Find spaces in nature that resource your nervous system. Create a Pinterest, slideshow, or hang images of nature in your environment to help you feel grounded and at ease. Just 5 minutes of “nature exposure” is known to help glimmer the human nervous system into a more ventral vagal state. A fascinating research article on this is available here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es305019p
Self-Holding for Self-Regulation
Practice the power of self-holding for self-regulation, which is a “bottom-up” way of bringing cues of safety to the body through physical touch. This practice is beautifully depicted in the piece titled “Self-Compassionate Touch,” by artist Chetna Mehta (@mosaiceye).
In recovery, affirmations have been integral to the rewiring of the neural pathways of my brain that were deeply grooved over decades of dysregulated nervous system state-driven stories about me, such as: “not good enough,” “worthless,” “damaged goods,” “abnormal,” “stupid,” etc.
One of the ways I like to bring my affirmation practice alive is to create “affirmation cards” as modeled after Louise Hay’s Heart Thought Cards pictured below along with my own – I encourage you to get crafty with your own affirmation cards! These make beautiful altar items to help concretize your self-healing intentions.
I hope some of these thoughts and suggestions help you the way they have helped me. If you need some support, I’m here.