An article by Robert Sanders, Life Coach, Timeline Therapist and NLP Practitioner
at Vinings Natural Health Centre
We all need to feel safe and secure. This seems like one of the most straightforward of the basic psychological needs. Your unconscious (or subconscious) mind is naturally sensitive to any threats to your safety and security. This need for security is the origin of our most deep-based fears. This is where you learn to notice dangers and respond instinctively to them.
Common sense tells us that we need to avoid things like fire, physical violence, falling from a great height, being attacked by a wild animal, being poisoned or being severely cold or exposed. These go without saying, and your unconscious mind knows how to protect you from these, so you may feel natural fear when faced with a lion, or something being on fire. You will instinctively avoid standing close to the edge on a high building if there is no barrier. You will want to get somewhere warm or wrap your clothes tighter around you if it gets cold.
The problem is that as human beings, most of these risks are fairly unlikely to happen, but your unconscious mind is trained to constantly look for danger. If it can’t find an obvious one, it may choose to focus on any experience that makes you feel less comfortable and treat that in the same way as it would a real danger. This is often why phobias and compulsions develop. Your unconscious mind makes a decision that an experience such as:
- being ostracised by friends,
- being in an aeroplane that could theoretically crash,
- losing a job
- being physically or mentally abused
- losing your home
is dangerous. Especially if it is something you have experienced before.
It installs automatic behaviours to protect you from that experience. Some of these behaviours may be excellent strategies and some may be counter-productive.
If your unconscious is constantly looking for danger, giving yourself experiences that emphasise your safety and security are likely to help you feel better.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs on the basic psychological needs, even small differences can help you feel better overall. If you rate your current feeling of safety and security as a 4 out of 10, for example, you may want to think about what you can do to make it a 5 or a 6.
In the above examples you could:
- begin to seek out and establish an additional friendship group
- study the statistics regarding the risks of flying compared to other modes of transport
- look for a new job or find other ways to generate additional income
- join a group of others who have suffered abuse and consider an escape plan
- get financial advice, look into cheaper housing.
In addition to dealing with the specific risk to your safety and security though you can also do other things that are unconnected with the ‘problems’ and these will help lift your mood and enable you to deal with these risks in a more manageable way.
One option that many people consider is to see a qualified Life Coach (e.g. Darshika Bower, Robert Sanders, Carole Thornton), who can help them look at your life as a whole and consider what changes, small and large will contribute to your sense of security and safety. Life Coaching extends beyond fulfilling this need, to also create positive change and success in multiple areas.
In addition to Life Coaching you may find that working with other therapists can help alleviate the feelings associated with a lack of security. You may want to speak to a counsellor or psychotherapist for example.
Hypnotherapy (Darshika Bower, Robert Sanders, Judy Sharp) can be very effective at communicating with the unconscious mind directly and reframing those fears and behaviours, and NLP (Darshika Bower, Robert Sanders, Carole Thornton) and Timeline Therapy (Robert Sanders,) can achieve similar results through the use of language and imagination.