I started online therapy a few weeks ago partially because I believe everyone should attend therapy before completing a counseling degree but also because I know it’s long overdue. I suffer from anxiety, paranoia, and depression because of years of trauma and that needs to be unpacked for me, my family, and my future career.

We recently worked on grounding techniques and labeling feelings that are more complex than categorized emotions. I wanted to share what we are working on now though, which is defining my ideal safe environment/moment.

You can do this too! Think about the five senses.

What is your favorite or most calming smell? Mine ate lavender and the candle my friend made me of my own unique scent. It’s the only perfume I’ll wear and the scent really speaks to me.

What is that scent for you?

Next is sound. My answer was silence! Haha. But also rain. I love the sound of gentle rain. I am also obsessed with this Hogwarts Train Ambience track on YouTube. It really helps me relax and focus on work.

What sounds are ideal for your calmness?

Feeling for me was easy. I like the weight of blankets on me. I like to wear my giant, fluffy blanket hoodie. These were my answers during our session but I painted a more colorful picture once reflecting on the session later.

The ideal feeling for me is a place I haven’t been in for so long. It’s at least 9 am, it’s not too hot or cold, the sun is beaming through the closed window blinds, but I don’t care because I’m beneath a peach-colored loose-knit blanket so I can see the sunshine without being blinded and giving up the warmth of the still lingering sleep.

Can you paint a similar picture of comfort?

We didn’t discuss taste because that’s not usually required for a safe space but let’s look at it anyway. What tastes are comforting to you? I have a weird obsession with ramen when I’m sick or feeling down. I love foamy coffee and mint teas.

Lastly is the sense of sight. Personally, I prefer darkness. Either the light is off or I’m under my covers, not stimulated by the light. Of course, I also like looking at the rain, a pretty sunny day, and fall leaves which are breathtaking here in West Virginia.

Are you like me? Would you keep your eyes closed as you meditate in your safe space or would you take in your surroundings?

Now it’s time to take all those ideal senses and put them together into an ideal safe space. Stay in this place for at least 10 minutes, because I’m told it takes at least 3–5 to really fall into the right mindset.

Hope this brings you some tranquility.

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“And if I see you, how it changes me. And if you see me, how it changes you.” — Andrew Bird

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Candice Shea Maxwell

Candice Shea Maxwell

“And if I see you, how it changes me. And if you see me, how it changes you.” — Andrew Bird

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