Seeking Safety - Part 1 - Hope Street Treatment

Seeking Safety – Part 1

Hello there dear Reader, 

I would like to invite you on a journey with me. Please open your mind and sit with these thoughts for a moment before formulating your response. Are you ready? Amazing, let’s go!

What does Safety mean to you? To me, it brings up a visual of warmth. A tangible warmth that lies deep inside my body. Safety lets me know that I am ok to listen to what is happening within me and to know that, regardless of the feelings that arise, I will be ok. 

Abraham Maslow created a hierarchy of needs, in which he speaks of how a person needs to have the base level fulfilled in order to ascend to higher levels. His first level described in The Journal Psyche are “Physiological needs (physical, survival-based needs), such as the need for food, water, sleep and air. These are on the bottom of the pyramid and represent our most basic needs.” In other words a person needs to have their basic needs met in order to continue on the journey of Self Actualization. 

In my perception, physiological needs represent safety since the need for air is compromised when a person does not feel safe. Have you ever experienced shortness of breath when worried or anxious? In the article “ The Breathing Conundrum – interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety” written by Martin P. Paulus,MD, Dr. Paulus describes the intricate relationship between the breath and anxious feelings. You know this internally, as when you feel the need to ‘catch your breath’ or when doing a meditation and the instructions to hold in a deep breath feel torturous, as though your lungs simply have no room. I certainly felt that way when I first started meditating and although it got better with time, I first had to find a way to calm down my central nervous system which was constricting my breathing. Through different breathing techniques I learnt how to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which produces a relaxing effect, as explained in the article “Proper Breathing Brings Better Health”. Simply put, our feelings of safety are of paramount importance in being able to get our physiological needs met. This also applies to getting proper nutrition, sleep, and even securing one’s own shelter. 

Stay tuned for the next post where we will explore the energetic core of safety and seek ways of increasing the level of safety felt within our being. 

Wishing you much serene and easy breathing,
Shoshana R. Widitor BS, BES

Resources: Breathing Conundrum – interoceptive sensitivity and anxiety” written by Martin P. Paulus,MD

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