Feeling Overwhelmed? Create a Safety Plan.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Create a Safety Plan.

How to Make a Safety Plan that Can Help You Stay in Control

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed or anxious that you’ve let your emotions get the best of you, and have said or done something that you regret?  We’ve all been in situations like this. Every day, we regulate our emotions by developing internal safety plans without even knowing it. A safety plan is a defined list of activities or actions that you can choose when you begin to feel overwhelmed. These plans will often help you avoid in engaging in unsafe behavior.

 Making a safety plan is easy, and can play a huge role in defusing an otherwise tense situation. First, let’s get started by answering the following questions:

  1. How do you know when you are so upset that you have lost control of your feelings?
  2. What do you do when your emotions get too intense?
  3. What usually helps when you feel this way?
  4. Specifically, who can you turn to? How can they help you?
  5. If you are honest with yourself, what are the areas where you are most in danger of losing control (trigger points - thing that make you extremely angry or upset)?
  6. What will be your plan for coping in a safe way when you become extremely angry or upset? List 5 things that you could do immediately to help you stay calm.

Now, it’s time to put your plan together. Based on your answers to the questions above. What are the five things that you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed? Above is an example safety plan to help get you started. We like to recommend that these are activities that you could do in the moment, or shortly after you remove yourself from a high-anxiety situation. 

What's included in your safety plan?

PRO TIP: Creating a safety plan can be a great family activity for children and adults of all ages.

Cornerstones of Care is committed to understanding, recognizing and responding to the effects of trauma. We are certified in The Sanctuary Model® of trauma-informed care through the Sanctuary Institute. As part of our commitment to being trauma-informed, we use tools and resources – like the safety plan—with our staff, children and families to develop skills and knowledge that will empower them to live safe, productive and non-violent lives inside and outside our organization.

Learn More About Trauma-Informed Care