Triggering Behaviors

Now that we have gotten this far lets look at something that could be triggering or a
behavior. It would be personal organization, both physically and mentally.

Physical / mental organization
You know those people who like things a certain way? This section may give you a
better understanding on why they may be that way. Probably not the total reason but a part of
it. For some having items in a certain place can cause mental peace and when something is not
where they left it, there is mental distress.

How it works. For those of you who are white cane users. How does your mind feel
when you go to get your white cane and it is right where you left it? Now think of those times
when you could not find it. How was your mindset then? We are guessing a world of difference.
For veterans this can be a variety of tools. If it was an item that was essential to their job and
peoples lives depended on it, they must know where those items are at ALL times. In their mind
its life or death for someone.

Now this can be your mental organization. As humans we are not great at multi-tasking.
If there are multiple things going on in the mind it can get disorganized and cause anxiety, then
turning into feeling unsafe and on guard when going out in public or interacting with others. No
one wants that.

Now we know life happens and things get moved around. You can try placing trackers
on your items. You can find trackers from different companies and different sizes. You could
attach one to your favorite white cane. You can always talk with those you live with yo talk to
them about how staying organized benefits you and see if they can improve how much they
move items around.

For mental organization we recommend brain dumps. If you have not heard these are
just you are writing everything down on a laptop or in a journal that is on your mind. This can
help you to find themes or organize your thoughts. You don’t have to keep these. Its purpose is
to help you recognize and analyze what’s on your mind and then if you need to respond you
can do that or not. Your choice. Daily writing is also beneficial for mental health. It can be a tool
you can use to prevent overwhelm or a tool to help you think through a stressful situation or

Mentally Identifying with Safety
In the last few years there has been a lot of talk about identifying. What group are you a
part of? What do you identify yourself as? We would like you to look at how you identify with
safety. Does your identity as an individual say anything about safety? Now for some this is an
easy question. They may have martial arts experience. For others they may be good at speaking
up for themselves. Then for others there is not really anything to speak of.

This does not mean we want you to go join the gym and workout a bunch or start taking
a self-defense class right away. If you have not been able to figure it out, there are daily things
you can do to build your safety identity. Throughout this module we have provided you with a
few different lists to choose from. It is the daily habits/ behaviors that help us form our identity.
Just like boundaries we are not suggesting you announce it to the world you identify as a safe
individual. When you start taking small action steps or daily strives everyday people will notice
without you saying a word.

Now if there are those of you who are still thinking that is not me. I am not one of those
kinds of people who needs that big level. As we stated before it’s the small actions. We will go
back to the movie “Inside Out” because it gives a great example of mental health. In the movie
there are the “personality Islands” For a long time the islands were one way and after
experiencing a stressful event in life they started to come down. They had to be torn down to
create new ones.

This could also be said for us as humans. Sometimes you have to breakdown once and a
while and then rebuild. The rebuilding process can take time. What if there was a safety island
that just became part of you. It would have boundaries and probably a PA system to shout
things when you needed to speak up for yourself. It could also have a nice lake for some selfcare when you need it. Honestly the options are endless. You could put anything on that island
that makes you feel physically or mentally safe. You could even put a blanket fort there for
emergency use only.

How do you want to identify safety for you? We will give some examples and you can
create your own list.

  1. You keep your front door locked.
  2. You take walks around your block often.
  3. You practice self-care once a week.
  4. You study safety education information like this class.
  5. You practice your SEED Functional Foundations often, if not daily.
  6. You call a doctor or mental health professional in times when you need it.
  7. You keep your area organized so you know where things are.
  8. You speak up when someone has broken one of your boundaries.
  9. Practice your O&M skills often.
  10. You practice your personal Internal Assessment PIA often and use as needed.
    Hopefully after reading our list, it has provided you with some options for your own
    island. You may have more to add to our list and can discuss more options if you’re in a group
    setting. Just like in fitness, safety is not an all-consuming thing in your life. For our purposes in
    some ways, they go hand in hand. Both fitness and safety experts would tell you the same.
    Here is the fun part. Let’s create your island. You can write down the description of
    what is on your island. Who is there? Are there a few people there or is it a party? Is there a
    blanket fort in the corner? Do we have nice clean boundaries around the island or are they
    messy and need some work?
    No matter what you are putting there it’s your choice. You can create the island for how
    you would like to be and reread it often so you can subconsciously start doing those things. Our
    minds do quite a bit of work in the background. It will notice things that you may not. When
    you reread your island description it almost becomes daily affirmations for yourself. If there is
    work that needs to be done on your island, then just know it is going to take time. Be patience
    with yourself. If you need guidance there is a SEED Instructor there to assist / guide you.
    There is a limit to what our SEED Instructors can help you with. Especially when it comes
    to mental health issues. In those cases, we recommend that you seek a mental health
    professional or a support group. Below we also give you informal examples to assist you in your
    mental health.