How to "take space" in a healthy way


When we're triggered, it's good to take space from the people or the situation which are triggering us.

In my family, we have a lot of "taking space" in a way that is actually unhealthy, and avoidant. So, let's take a look at how to make this amazing practice one that is a good experience. 

No one likes conflict. How we respond to a trigger depends on who we are and where we are at the moment. Taking space is a practice which can serve all of us, when approached well.

If you're drawn to my work, you likely have a good deal of Pitta, and want to resolve things to be able to find ease, and stop it from running background chatter in your mind. In other words, we're the people that may need a bit of space, but prefer resolution to indefinite space. We benefit from the cool down before responding, and generally feel better about our responses when we've thought them through.

For those with more overwhelm and triggering (Vata states), or tendencies to withdraw and isolate (Kapha states), not dealing with the conflict can become a default that causes unhealthy relationship dynamics for everyone involved. 

Luckily, there's a way to "take space" which keeps the energetics clean and clear. So, no matter which doshas you have driving the response, you can take the space you need in a way that is healthy for everyone. 

1. Communicate.

Let people know that you are taking space to regroup, reflect and find the best response. This can be a simple and removed communication via text or email - which allows you to feel more safe saying you are taking space. 


You've done your part to express what is happening, and show up with words to match your actions. Just "disappearing" from communication is passive aggressive. It's mean when the other person is trying to show up to resolve, and you are not ready, to simply not respond. It's okay to not be ready, but to ghost others is immature. While others can be sour that you're taking space, their response is their choice, and at least they are informed - not in the dark feeling pushed away/rejected. 

2. Use the "space" for its intended purpose.

Remember, space from a trigger is there to regroup, reflect and find the best response.

Disengaging, and doing nothing to heal or resolve will just accumulate more unresolved situations in your life. It's okay to take some time to not think about it, but don't sweep it under the rug. That's avoidant behavior which results in emotional baggage for you and resentment for the others. This will affect your mood, nervous system, self esteem, sleep and digestion in not good ways. 


Take the time to bring in tools and supports to calm down and get clear. You created space, time, and emotional safety to consider the situation - that's amazing. This increases your ability to trust your choices, your self esteem, and sense of safety in the world. It also supports the nervous, digestive and reproductive tissues. 

3. Circle back to resolve. 

Resolution is a personal thing. Sometimes it's a process we can only achieve internally, and other times we can achieve it with others. No matter what the situation, it's possible to find a healthy perspective and alignment inside of yourself to gift yourself resolution. 

Coming back to address a trigger is akin to asking nicely for your needs to be met. Of course, we also have to be able to understand the needs of others and willing to meet them. The idea is the best possible approach to meet as many of the needs of all parties. If the other does not have the capacity to resolve with you, at least you did your part to address things and showed up to find resolution.


Irrespective of the situation, it feels good inside of us to know we showed up to find peace, to grow, to meet our own emotional needs, and those of others to our best capacity. That act of "showing up," even if it is just with our therapist, benefits our self confidence and our ability to trust ourselves in challenging situations. Over time, this results in less worry and avoidance. 

When we don't take these 3 steps in our taking of space, we're missing out on the benefits and beauty of the practice, which is self growth with less stress. Not only that, but we create the opposite effects of all the benefits listed about within ourselves. No conflict is worth that. 


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