Safety behaviours

I have little things that I do to make myself feel more secure when I’m facing anxiety. I can’t even remember when I started doing some of them but it made me feel safer so I continued with it. I didn’t know about safety behaviours at the time and of course, that is what they are. It turns out they are very common among people with anxiety. My list includes;

  • Carrying a plastic bag in my handbag (In case I feel I am going to be sick)
  • Carrying Rescue Remedy spray (to calm myself down if anxiety strikes)
  • Carrying a small bottle of water (Not sure if it counts as a safety behaviour but started doing this recently because it has been hot.)
  • Having my phone with me at all times if I am out of the house.
  • Taking my car if I am going somewhere that makes me nervous (So I can leave quickly if necessary.)
  • If I’m in a theater/cinema/church etc I try to sit near the end of the aisle. (Again so I can leave quickly.)

I feel like I have missed one out… I suppose when they are part of your day to day life its easy to overlook them. I wanted to see if other people used safety behaviours so I headed to Twitter and sent this tweet;

Quick question for MH tweeters: Do you have any safety behaviours? 

@Dev_AU: I always carry a folded up plastic bag in my bag in case I need to be sick. Also always carry polos.

@IamscaredInfo: I’ve learnt to cut them out now more or less. Used to always carry water, wipes, sick bag, window down in car & air con up! 1/2

my main ones at the moment are picking ‘safe’ seats – whether it be car, cinema, plane, theatre etc. ones with good escape! 2/2

@felicity_sky: 2 many 2 list but water & mints r essential, wont go in the bk of 3 door car, like 2 know where exits r, ‘just in case’ packing

I was surprised (but also relieved!) to find out that I’m not the only person who carries a sick bag. I’ve done this for many years and I’ve never had to use it. Its just reassuring, knowing that its there just in case! That’s what it boils down to, little things that make us feel more secure when we are out and about or doing something that raises our anxiety. Is that so bad? I’ve often wondered if I should be challenging myself to reduce my safety behaviours. At the moment I’m using my Anxiety Bucket List to push my boundaries, expand my comfort zone tackle my anxiety. My safety behaviours give me a tiny piece of security while I’m doing that, that has to be a good thing right now surely? Maybe once I’ve ticked a few more things off my list I can work on leaving the rescue remedy spray/water/sick bag at home. But right now they are a comfort while I put myself in scary situations (scary to me anyway) so I will keep using them. Do you have any safety behaviours? What is your view of them? Let me know below =)

Take care,

Hayley x


2 thoughts on “Safety behaviours

  1. Ok I seriously NEVER thought so many people carry around a sick bag! I mean, I knew I can’t be the only one, but it makes me laugh that so many of you do it as well. 😀

    I’ve been carrying a bag with me since I was a kid because I would always get car sick so I was afraid of being sick in a tram or bus too…

    I managed to remove 1 safetly behavious- carrying around a bottle of Cola with me. Since I don’t drink coffee or tea, Cola always helped me when I got dizzy and for months I couldn’t leave my flat without it.

    Oh and I don’t sit in the end of an aisle on concerts anymore, that’s the hardest thing for me nowadays but I’m slowly getting more comfortable sitting in the middle far away from an exit 🙂

    Good luck with getting rid of your safety behavious! 🙂

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