I’m back with another instalment of the self-soothing series in which I share tools and strategies to support you when you become emotionally dysregulated. Today I want to share another way of using your imagination to calm and soothe your nervous system.
How Can Your Imagination Help?
As I’ve mentioned before, your imagination is a powerful tool. It can affect your body positively or negatively depending on what’s showing up. For example, if you imagine going on an upcoming holiday, sitting on the beach with a cocktail in your hand, you might notice you feel excitement in your tummy. In contrast, if you imagine a stressful experience, you may tense up. You may also notice your heart rate starts to increase. This just goes to show the power of the mind. What we focus on affects our body and how we feel emotionally.
What is Safety Bubble Imagery and When Can I Use It?
In this exercise, you construct the image of a large bubble of safety surrounding you. The goal is to bring about a feeling of safety in your body to calm you down, even if only a little. It can be helpful during labour, but you can use it whenever you feel unsafe or in need of protection. For example, following a traumatic birth, going into hospital may be triggering for you. You can use the safety bubble imagery before the appointment as well as during.
How Do I Do It?
- Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes or look down and take a few deep, slow breaths. Feel any tension leave your body and focus on breathing through your nose. Take a few deep belly breaths until your breathing slows.
- On your inhale, imagine a cleansing light entering through the crown of your head. It can be golden, white or any other colour that feels comforting. Imagine it filling your belly with light.
- On your exhale, send that light around you, building an imaginary bubble. You can exhale through your mouth if it feels like more of a release.
- Continue for several breaths or minutes. Picture the bubble growing stronger with every inhale and exhale. The bubble you’re building is a beautiful bubble. You notice it has a wonderful fragrance too, a soothing, calming smell. Take some long, deep breaths and pay attention to the smell that you find calming and soothing.
- Your bubble is magic because you can walk in and out of it without it breaking. You can take anything into the bubble that will be soothing to you and help you feel safe and strong.
- No unhealthy, critical voices can get through the magic bubble. It’s important to set healthy boundaries about who you’re willing to let into and stay in your life and your bubble can help you do this.
- The bubble is your safe cocoon. You cannot be harmed while you’re inside it. You may let other people into the bubble, or you may choose to be by yourself, but nothing unhealthy or harmful can enter the bubble.
- Focus on the warmth, safety and comfort of your bubble. You can float wherever you want to in your bubble.
- Sink deeper into the experience. Feel this complete and pleasant protection, this liberation and lightness. Feel yourself calm and secure. Imagine your bubble extracting the heaviness and toxicity inside and sending it out to be absorbed by the atmosphere. It’s protecting you and keeping you secure.
- You may stay in your bubble for as long as you want or need to.
- When you’re ready to come back to having your eyes open, let the bubble stay protectively around you. If you feel the need for the safety and security of your bubble again, you can imagine it at any time.