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  • Writer's pictureAnna Dillingham

10 Things To Put In Your Survival Kit

Updated: May 18

When life's stressors trigger our defensive survival mechanisms, a survival kit serves to bring a frazzled nervous system back into balance, back into the body, back into the here and now.

The way back into the present moment is through the body, and the way back into the body is through the senses. I recommend choosing items for your kit for all five senses.

The survival kit is the container as well as the items contained within it. Some ideas for a container are a basket with a lid, a shoebox or an old cigar box, a cardboard craft box from a craft store, a jar, a bag or zippered pouch.

When the survival responses kick in, our minds become hyper-focused on potential danger - this is called the negativity bias. Included in the list are a few suggestions to counter the negativity bias with positive or uplifting images and words.

Enjoy gathering objects for your survival kit that help you reconnect with yourself in a kind and embodied way.

1. A picture of a person or pet that touches your heart.

2. An image or postcard of a place where everything feels okay, or brings back happy memories, and that can evoke the body sensations of those pleasant memories.

3. A quote, prayer, or adage that reflects your values, and reminds you of who you are or really want to be.

4. Note to Self: a kind, inspiring note addressed to yourself by name, that reminds you of something good about yourself.

5. Something that can make a pleasant sound, like a small bell or whistle, or percussion like a shaker.

6. Something that engages your tactile senses: a "worry stone," a squeeze ball, slime, a cotton ball, a small stuffed animal, a soft paintbrush to stroke on your face or your arm.

7. A delicious or enlivening scent, such as a luxurious perfume, scented lotion (which can also be used to stimulate the tactile senses), a small bottle of essential oil, or a small container of ground coffee.

8. Something to stimulate your tastebuds, such as a mint (keep a small tin of mints or tic tacs in your kit), "life savers," wrapped hard candies, or chewing gum.

9. An heirloom, or object that reminds you of a nurturing or protective family member, supportive figure in your life, or your ancestors in general - something that conveys, "I/we've got your back."

10. A treasure from nature that reminds you of your connection to Mother Earth and the cycles of life, and your belonging to a greater whole, such as a shell, a stone, or a pinecone.

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