Do you feel the fear when chronic symptoms arise?
My 3 step guide to feeling safe within your body when symptoms come on strong.
Why do chronic symptoms make us feel fearful?
When symptoms arise or are present in the body, they can immediately set off the fear response.
I'm sure you can relate to that feeling of panic, of wondering how you'll cope in the situation you're in, that feeling of wanting to escape, to run away, to get to safety, now.
That's totally normal and natural.
3 simple steps – Feeling safe within your body when symptoms arise
What you want to move towards is being able to generate a feeling of safety within the body, despite those feelings - communicating to your brain that they're not a threat to you. Going against the natural instinct to avoid them and distract ourselves, or escape.
To do that, I'm going to share a really simple three step exercise that you can do in any moment to create a 'home' of safety within your body, not outside of it. That means it's always accessible and provides an anchor to get you through those tough moments.
So, here we go.... 1) Have a quick chat
Notice and acknowledge your symptoms with compassion by starting a little conversation - something like this…
“I hear you. Thank you for getting my attention. I know that you are scared, I know you've been through a lot - we've been through a lot. But we are safe now, we've got this.” 2) Locate your safe 'home'
Find a place or sensation in your body you can deeply associate with a feeling of safety. Maybe it's breathing into your stomach, the feeling of your feet on the ground or gently massaging your temples. Something always accessible in every moment that you know works for you. 3) Return home
Communicate again with that scared part of you that it's time to return home now and feel safe. Bring your attention to that feeling in your body, use it as your anchor & breathe into it.
Focus on the feelings, the sensations, the slowing, the grounding for as long as you need to before continuing with whatever feels intuitive to you. For me, my safe home within my body is the feeling of breathing slowly and deeply into my stomach, but that will be different for us all.
Self compassion and moving towards safety
This process powerfully communicates with complete acceptance & compassion that you understand and really empathise with your brains fear pattern.
But it also communicates clearly through your mind & body that this is a new time now and safety is where you're heading, within your body, not outside of it.
Repeat & use this any time you feel that that overwhelming fear of sensations - bring your attention back there, back home. Sending lots of healing love and really hope this is helpful. James