Everyone has a basic need to feel safe and secure. After all, how can anyone thrive if they constantly feel on edge?
Not only is insecurity disturbing on a conscious level where you may be worrying about things all the time, but it also causes your body to stay in high-stress mode because it perceives danger.
In high-stress mode, your body changes some physiological processes to better deal with the stress or danger. One of these processes is the increased production of cortisol which provides many benefits for dealing with temporary problems but is unhealthy long-term. As a result, it’s hard for your body to be in Fight or Flight mode for a long time.
Of course, some people can’t help that. People with mental health issues, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and trauma may find that they cannot feel safe and secure. These mental health challenges can keep your mind amped up and constantly looking for a threat that does not exist. Simply put, it’s frustrating and exhausting to live that way.
The following tips we’re going to share are things that might help you create some peace and calm for yourself. However, it should be noted that they aren’t a replacement for the actual treatment. If you’ve suffered a trauma or live with a mental illness, self-management and lifestyle choices like these can only go so far. These things may help, but they cannot replace the correct care which may include professional therapy and/or medication.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you feel more safe and secure in your life and environment. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
That being said, how can you feel more safe and secure?
1. Create a peaceful environment around you.
Creating a peaceful environment can mean different things.
Consider the physical spaces you spend your time in. Are they clean and uncluttered? Clutter and dirty surroundings can cause more anxiety and distress because your brain needs to subconsciously process everything your eyes see. That keeps your mind constantly busy as it tries to interpret everything in a pile of clutter.
And then you have less tangible environments. Your social circle is an environment that can become cluttered with people that cause you stress, anxiety, and amplify your insecurity. It may be an inconsistent friend that only sometimes replies and causes you to worry, people that aren’t understanding, or people that are unpredictable or just mean.
Auditing your social circle to remove people that make you feel unsafe or insecure may be necessary to create a peaceful environment for you to exist in.
2. Increase your activity.
Increasing your activity can help you work off some of the excess worries and refocus your energy.
One of the worst things you can do for your mental health is to constantly sit around and think about it. Doing so increases the likelihood of sending yourself into a catastrophic downward spiral. Once you’re spiraling, pulling yourself out of that pattern of feeling unsafe and insecure is hard. The best solution is to try to avoid getting there in the first place.
What kind of activities can you do? Really, anything that will keep you from dwelling too much on the negative feelings you’re experiencing. The more mentally engaging it is, the more likely it is to provide the benefit you want—that is, to feel less vulnerable, threatened, panicked, or exposed. Some suggestions include:
– exercise to burn off excess energy and produce more feel-good chemicals in your body.
– puzzles to give you something to actively think about instead of passively ruminating.
– consume some funny media you know you enjoy for the familiarity of it.
3. Address any direct sources of insecurity that you may find.
The feelings of not being safe and secure often stem from some source. Sometimes that is intangible, like a mental illness where your brain tells you that you are unsafe. However, other times, problems in your life or relationships are causing the issue.
For example, you may feel unsafe and insecure if you regularly fight with a romantic partner. You may feel that the relationship is on shaky ground if you often argue. Hopefully, the relationship is good enough that you can effectively talk it out and get to a meaningful resolution. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it takes more time to resolve conflicts when they are serious enough. Instead, it might make more sense to ask for more quality time together so you can feel more secure.
A work situation might also be causing those feelings. Perhaps things haven’t been going well at work. There are a lot of cost-cutting measures being put in place, some people have been laid off, and the future with that employer isn’t looking so good. That unstable environment will cause you distressing feelings because it is naturally distressing. Who knows how long it’ll be until you get another job if you lose this one? How will you pay your bills? How will you make rent?
In some situations, finding your way to a safer and more secure environment is the best solution. It may be time to brush up on that resume and apply for other jobs.
4. Reduce your exposure to stressors.
The truth is that we are surrounded by things that are designed to stress us out. Fear, anger, and anxiety are all powerful engagement tools. They’re used by commentators, social media companies, and advertisers to keep you hooked on whatever product they provide. They can trigger all sorts of responses, and one is to make us feel insecure all of a sudden.
And sometimes, that’s not even on purpose.
News networks before the internet would show news twice a day for about an hour or so. After the internet? They are on a 24/7 grind to keep up and outpace one another because consumers want their information NOW. Before the world became interconnected, it was much easier to not be constantly stressed out by the state of the world simply because you had no way to know about it.
There’s nothing wrong with staying informed about what is happening in your community and worldwide. However, it can certainly cause or amplify negative feelings. A good way to combat those feelings is to limit how much time you spend with the causes of stress.
Limit yourself to how much news you consume in a day. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Give yourself permission to disconnect and step away from those things for as long as you need to regain equilibrium. By all means, stay informed, but it’s okay to not be plugged in 24/7.
Another good thing to do is to periodically have a phone vacation. That is, turn your phone off, set it aside, and take some time away from it. Couple this with an activity like camping, and you give your brain a chance to clear up some of that stress.
5. Create a happy space.
A happy space can be anything that will help remind you of the positivity in your life and world. That may be a collection of pictures and videos on the internet, a physical dream board to remind you of the good things you like about life, or just about any place you can retreat to to look at good things.
The idea behind this practice is to interrupt negative thought processes and hopefully get some feel-good chemicals pumping. But unfortunately, many people who deal with negative thought processes and loops don’t necessarily see the value in this kind of practice because it seems so minor.
However, there is great power in attempting to counter negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones. After all, unless you have some mental health issue that fragments your thoughts, you will have one train of thought. If that train of thought is negative, that’s how you will feel. As a result, you will amplify the insecurity and threats you feel.
Trying to disrupt and replace those feelings with more positive ones will hopefully let you push those out of your mind.
6. Have faith in yourself.
Do you know what the amazing thing is about you? You’ve managed to make it through your life so far, right up to now when you’re sitting here and reading this article.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it was always an easy ride. You may have gone through some terrible things to get here. However, you are still right here and have managed to navigate what life has thrown at you. That means you can handle whatever may come at you in the future.
Maybe you experience anxiety when things are going well and you want to change that. Build your confidence by reminding yourself how far you’ve come and what you’ve overcome. And if you’ve had a hard time or don’t feel like you’ve had much control? That’s okay! You can learn new skills, make new choices, and keep working to find ways to navigate your life that make sense to you.
You may need to learn some stress management skills, change some things about how you live your life, or confront a problem that has been hanging over you for a long time. Then, you can cause that positive change and do something better for yourself.
7. Reach out to supportive people in your life.
Do you have supportive people in your life that you can lean on while going through this hard time? If so, it might be time to reach out to them for some quality time and support so you can better navigate this rough patch.
If you don’t have a positive support network, consider looking for an online or real-world support group. It can be kind of scary to get involved with a group, but they won’t typically ask you to contribute anything unless you want to. Most groups will allow you to sit and observe how things work until you feel comfortable enough to contribute if you want to.
Being around other people with similar struggles can help you feel less alone. There are so many people out there who are working through similar issues. Like-minded people providing support for one another can be a powerful tool for healing.
8. Do seek professional help.
Persistent feelings of discomfort, insecurity, and not feeling safe may be symptoms of issues that you need to address with the help of a professional. These feelings may be tied to past traumas or anxiety that cannot be resolved through self-help and self-management.
Do seek professional help if you find that these kinds of lifestyle steps don’t really help.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.