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MeditationSeeking Safety

Seeking Safety

When we feel unsafe in our own communities, we’re often left in a state of heightened stress. Focus on breath awareness to help settle the nervous system.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

This guided practice is for those of you who may struggle with getting settled before your meditation practice, perhaps due to a history of experiencing unsafety. I will guide you through some techniques that may help to move the energy of vigilance out of the nervous system. There will be a short guided breath awareness meditation, followed by guiding you out of the meditation practice. Please know that I offer invitations, they are descriptions, not prescriptions. You're welcome to modify or skip over anything that does not feel appropriate for you. Take a moment to orient to your environment by looking at the space in front of you. Taking in both the objects and the spaciousness between the objects, the colors, and textures, light and shadow. Turn towards your right, taking in whatever you notice. Turn towards your left, taking in whatever you notice. Have a look behind you. Have a look behind you from the other direction. Now look up and notice the spaciousness above you and in front of you, and below you. Look for your exits and notice the route between you and your exits. If there are windows, I invite you to look out the window. Squeeze the hands into balls and draw them in towards your upper torso and draw the shoulders up towards the ear, scrunch the face and the eyes, and release. Let's do that two more times with the breath, if you like. Squeeze the hands, draw them in and shoulders up towards the ear, scrunch the face and the eyes, and release. Once more, if you like. Squeeze the hands, draw them in, shoulders up, scrunch the face and the eyes, and release. And hinge the jaw. Bare the teeth. Make sounds, sighs, groans. Take a moment to scan the body for wiggles, stretches or movements that are nourishing and resourcing for you. As you're already, come to your seated posture, shoulders over hips. Bring the back of the head back and the chin slightly down. Imagine a piece of string connected to your crown, gently encouraging length in the spine. Shoulders warm and heavy. Soften the eyes. Gentle gaze. Soften the face and release the jaw. Press the tip of the tongue gently against the soft palate behind the two front upper teeth. Think of these meditation postural cues as touchstones, something to come back to when you notice that your mind has wandered away. Shoulders over hips, head over center line, long spine, soft shoulders, face, eyes, jaw, and tongue gently pressing against the area behind the two front teeth. Soften the brain. And notice the breath as it rises and passes. Disentangle yourself from the process of thinking by anchoring yourself into the awareness of your breath, the flow of the incoming air, and the flow of the outgoing air. Imagine your thoughts as fish. In-breath, here comes the fishy thought. Out-breath, fishy thoughts swims on by. Rather than chasing these fishy thoughts with your attention, cultivate your...


Duration9 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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