Personal Space

“I need some personal space.”


How often have you heard this phrase spoken? Or uttered it yourself? Maybe you’ve only thought it. What does it mean?


I want to get away from you because you are smothering me!

I need some time to absorb what just happened!

I’m feeling restless and need to move!

You are encroaching on what I consider my spatial comfort zone!

What all of these situations have in common is the need to provide a calm and safe place in which to understand how you feel. You want to remove yourself from the current situation because you believe you need distance in order to deal with whatever is at hand. Instead of leaving, perhaps it might be best if you go “within”.


We can create this calm and safe place within ourselves. By becoming aware of where in our bodies we are experiencing the anxiety, fear, nervousness, or need for fight or flight, we can control the need to run away. Locating the clenched stomach or locked jaw or raised shoulders that result from feeling cornered we can work to release that area of the body. Deep breathing and concentration on relaxing those areas of the body can significantly change the way we are feeling physically and, therefore, emotionally.


Picture a time when you felt completely at ease. By reviewing how your body felt, how you were breathing, and what the surroundings were; you can recreate those feelings. Ask your body to revisit those sensations and you will find yourself returning to that emotional state of ease.


Are you aware of what you mean in terms of personal space?


Each of us has slightly different needs when it comes to personal space. Being conscious of what your specific needs are can help you to facilitate communication, improve relationships, prevent inappropriate conflicts, and ensure you get what you need to function optimally. It is worth taking the time to understand what circumstances cause you to need personal space. It is even more beneficial to understand how to create a calm and safe physical state which will enhance your sense of personal space.


Granted this technique is not a panacea for all situations. However, it will help to diffuse your need to “get away” in many settings. Even if you do need to walk away, you will have returned to a state that allows you to authentically solve the issue from a relaxed viewpoint and to recognize what you really want to do.


© 2010 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.