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Need a Personal Retreat? Create a Sanctuary Space

Summary: Do you often feel anxious, angry or stressed? Do you find it hard to enjoy your time with people – even those people you truly love? If so, consider creating a sanctuary space. Read on to learn how you can create a personal retreat where you can decompress, clarify your priorities and focus on joy.

Need a Personal Retreat? Create a Sanctuary Space

In a world that often feels overwhelming, a small corner that you can call your own can help you reduce stress and can be a dependable place to find solace and rejuvenation. A personal retreat will be there for you whether life is going well, or everything is falling apart. 

In a noisy and demanding world, a quiet place to step back, clear your mind and find order in the chaos is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity.

Maybe you’re not sure that establishing a sanctuary space is a good use of your time right now. To help you decide, I’ve put together a little “quiz”. Just answer yes or no to these questions, Do you…

Sign that says "Questions, Answers"
  • Feel anxious, angry or stressed more often than you’d like? 
  • Find yourself losing patience too quickly, too often?
  • Have a hard time enjoying life – even those parts that you truly love?
  • Find it hard to enjoy your time with people – even those people you truly love?
  • Feel dissatisfied, but can’t put your finger on what to change?
  • Want to make specific changes you but you can’t muster the energy to follow through?
  • Find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, because that’s the only place you can find any peace and quiet?

If you answered “no” to all questions, then I must be addressing the Dalai Lama himself. Welcome, Your Holiness. As you are not in need in need of my services, I will send you on your way. Namaste. 

If you found yourself saying “yes” to all questions then, my friend, emergency protocols are in order. Please create a personal retreat space – STAT. I’m afraid you will implode before you finish reading this sentence. 

If you’re not the Dalai Lama but not quite ready to implode, I invite you to stick around. Hand to God, I promise creating a personal retreat where you can dependably find peace and quiet will help you get the better life you crave. 

I can honestly say that no single practice has served me better over the course of my life than deliberately claiming a small corner of the universe as my very own. 

My personal sanctuary space served me faithfully and well twenty years ago when my life fell apart. It helped me sort through the detritus of a failed marriage, financial problems, extreme loneliness, and a job I loathed to forge a path forward. It also serves me now that my life is back on track. My personal retreat is how I stay centered and positive through life’s ups and downs. It also gives me the space I need to effectively navigate the life’s difficult decisions.   

Ready to dive in? Get instant access to our FREE Sanctuary Starter Kit.

Here are a couple of features I recommend for your sanctuary space and why:

A quiet, calm environment

The brain and body need quiet to restore themselves. A 2006 study found that “silence can release tension in the brain and body in just two minutes.” Further, a personal retreat can ensure regular episodes of quiet that can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, as well as regulate hormones. All of which benefit us when we’re trying to chillax, get a handle on life, and move forward in the best possible way.

An atmosphere of self-acceptance and self-compassion

Many of us squirm at the idea of putting these things into practice. For starters, it feels narcissistic. We also tend to believe that self-punishment leads to positive change (it doesn’t) and we fear giving up the sense of control we feel when trying to fix things. 

Here’s the truth: self-acceptance and self-compassion are key to unlocking everything good we want for ourselves and others. Research backs this up. Self-compassion researcher Kristen Neff has found that self-compassion decreases negative emotions such as anger, shame and guilt. And Brené Brown’s research indicates that “the heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become.”

Ready to dive in? Get instant access to our FREE Sanctuary Starter Kit.

Maybe the idea of spending some time alone with yourself in a special place you designate for just this purpose makes you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you’re worried that doing so will bring you face to face with some truths you’d rather not deal with. For example (and this may hurt a little) the fact that many of us don’t like parts of ourselves very much and would just as soon not deal with them. 

It’s important to be good to yourself; it helps you be better to others

If you get nothing else out of this article, please understand that liking yourself and offering yourself understanding and compassion are not the same things. You can (and absolutely should) practice self-compassion. Even if you are still working on the liking yourself, because the first can lead you to the second

At my lowest point, I certainly didn’t like myself very much; I felt like a total failure. But practicing self-compassion was the first step to both understanding and liking myself more. And these were both key to forging a fulfilling path forward. 

Self-compassion researcher Kristen Neff notes that self-compassion is about recognizing your true self and accepting your flaws and mistakes without judgment, which leads to personal growth. My sanctuary space helped me accept certain truths at a tough time in my life. That perspective then freed me up to focus on my strengths and what I found most meaningful. This, in turn, led me to make thoughtful and realistic choices about how to invest my time and energy going forward. 

And that made all the difference in the world.

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