Several years ago in the group we developed a safe card. This was a tool for people to draw on in moments that felt difficult, overwhelming or unmanageable. The idea is to fill it in when feeling in a more positive place. First of all in the group we thought about the types of situations where it may be helpful; times of crisis, or being very down and self-critical of oneself. Sometimes when we fall into a very negative place it can be hard in those moments to bring to mind a more positive outlook or a different possibility of how things might turn out. It may be that in those moments we can’t get there at all by ourselves so we might be reminded of someone we can go to who is able to remind us which is why there is a space for a supportive person’s number and crisis phone line numbers. The kind of things that the group knew to do to look after themselves were to go for a walk, eat something, exercise, talk to someone. People found quotes that were helpful to them too, that made them feel better, things that reminded them to embrace the vitality of life and that troubled times change and pass. People cited the serenity prayer:
We chatted about the value of acceptance of situations we can’t change rather than fighting against them, because we have power to change our feelings, thoughts and actions.
What we can also find sometimes too is that we have ‘paralysis in pursuit of perfection’ in that we don’t even try new things or new ways because they may not go perfectly but that’s ok!!
There seems to be a power of writing important reminders down and then sticking them up. Remember that our brains and thoughts default to the negative, and we need ways to remind ourselves of the other ways of thinking, a different story and other possible outcomes. So this is where a safe card can come in useful. We also chatted a bit about the last section of the safe card; a vision for the future. For some people this was about identifying and realising things they had maybe not put into words before, and others at different stages in life were ready to start looking for a new journey to find a new passion.
When you are feeling anxious it is so important to have strategies to cope. To this end using a safe card can provide a safety net to hold and ground you.