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Thread: A Brief Guide on Bonding With Security Objects

  1. #1

    Default A Brief Guide on Bonding With Security Objects

    So youíve decided you want a security object. Something snuggly and comforting that can make you feel better when youíre scared or lonely or the world feels too big. I commend you on your decision, such objects have been extensively studied, and itís been scientifically proven that the psychological benefit they have is far-reaching and powerful. But why am I making this guide you ask? Surely it is a trivial matter to pick up a blanket or teddy bear and tote it around. It is not that simple however, and I would like to use my own experience of bonding with a security object, coupled with my studies in psychology, to help you form your own unique connection with your lovey.

    Step One: Choosing your Object
    This step is much more complex than picking up the first stuffed animal or blanket you see in a shop and deciding to make it a security object. The bond must be natural and organic, it cannot be forced, rushed, or artificially created. There are several key factors to consider when choosing your object.

    1. Decide what kind of object you want. Will it be a blanket? A stuffed animal or doll? Something else? Consider the qualities you want your object to have. Do you want a brave friend who can fight off monsters? A stuffed animal can do this. Do you want something functional that you can hide under and create physical safe spaces with? A blanket does this well. Do you want something small to keep with you discreetly at all times? A special stone, marble or figurine may work nicely.

    2. Once youíve determined the basic qualities of the object you want, get into details. If you want a stuffed animal, what species? Floppy or firm? Realistic or anthropomorphic? For blankets, what type of fabric? Fluffy and warm, or thin and good for all weather conditions? Bonding will be made easier if you choose traits that have special emotional meaning to you. Pick an animal species thatís meaningful, for example, or choose a fabric print that makes you feel happy and safe when you look at it. For instance, my favourite colour is red, but I chose minty green ribbon to line the outside of my blanket with, because that colour has more of an emotional connection to my childhood than red does, and subsequently increases the feeling of security and safety that I get from my blanket.

    3. Size is another important factor. Do you want an object thatís large and easy to snuggle with and that makes you feel small, or something smaller, more portable, and more discreet that you can carry out and about, or in a purse or backpack without anyone noticing? My blanket is 36x36 inches, about the size of a typical baby blanket. It folds up small and fits nicely in my small backpack without being bulky, and I can feel good knowing itís always with me.

    4. You donít have to get it right the very first time. You can choose an object and try it out for a while. If you find that youíre struggling to bond with it, or arenít feeling much emotional connection, itís okay to find something else and try again. I went through six different blankets over a number of years before finally finding the one that was right for me. Take your time and be open to any and all feelings that come up as you go through the bonding process, and donít feel obligated to stick with an object that isnít working.

    Step Two: Choosing a Name
    A very important aspect of bonding with a security object is giving it a name. This is a process that is very personal, and can too easily be rushed and done carelessly.

    1. Pick a name that has special emotional meaning to you. It doesnít have to be fancy or original, it just has to be something that makes you feel good when saying it. If you have a stuffed wolf that you want to name Wolfie, because it was the name of a toy you had as a child, thatís great, but if youíre naming it Wolfie because you canít think of anything better, wait a while. Eventually youíll stumble across a name that fits well for you.

    2. Names arenít just for stuffed animals. Naming your blanket, stone, or other object is important because it marks it as truly yours. You branded it with a meaningful name, and it has been distinguished and set apart from all the other ordinary blankets and stones in the world. You can use a traditional name, or you can go with a cute nickname thatís special to you. Examples of such names include things like Nanuk, Snuggly, Wubbie, Moosh, or the classic Blankie. My blanketís name is Moggie. I chose it because I wanted a name that evoked feelings of softness and warmth, as well as being a word that an actual small child might use, which adds to my feeling of security when I say it.

    Step Three: The Bonding Process
    Okay, now you have an object that has emotional value to you, and a name that reflects that value. So how do you actually start bonding with it? This is where the psychology comes into play.

    1. Trigger a conditioned response. This means training your unconscious mind to automatically associate your object with feelings of comfort and security. This is actually quite simple to do, as long as you remain consistent.

    - To start out, pay close attention to when you are feeling naturally calm, comfortable and relaxed, and make sure to interact naturally and gently with your object during those times. Hug and talk to your stuffed animal while sitting in the garden, feel your blanket against your face or wrapped around you while watching TV in the evening, or at night as you fall asleep. This will teach your brain to associate your object with calm, comfort and relaxation. This is also the step during which you will be able to identify whether or not you chose a good object to bond with, or if youíll need to look for something else.

    - After youíve begun to develop the connection between your object and good feelings by having it with you when those feelings naturally occur, you can begin practising the reverse; having the object itself be the trigger for positive emotions. To do this will require patience and quiet mindfulness. Find some time during the day, every day, to just sit quietly and relax. Have your object with you, and pay attention to it. How does it feel in your hands? How does it smell? What patterns can you identify in the fabric? Feel the eyes, are they plastic, or embroidered? Are they all black, or do they have irises? As youíre calmly thinking about these things, take deep, slow breaths. You can close your eyes, listen to calming sounds, music or meditation, or just sit in the silence, whatever makes you feel most at peace. You can do this for as long or as little as you like, as long as you do it every day until the bond is fully formed. Never force yourself to do it if youíre restless or in an uncomfortable head space, and end the exercise as soon as you feel any kind of negative interruption like anxiety or stress. The goal is to make your object full of positive associations, and completely devoid of negative ones. It is to become your own tiny patch of paradise, where nothing bad can ever happen.

    - Once youíre able to pick up or look at your object and have it automatically evoke positive feelings, youíre ready to put it to the test where it matters. Whenever you feel a negative emotion, fear, anger, sadness, etc., get your object and concentrate on it. Use it in a way that you find most calming; stroke it, hide under it, wrap up in it, hug it, etc. and take slow deep breaths. As you do so, try to bring up the memories of your calm, mindful time together. Monitor your feelings and see if they get better or worse. If they get worse, put your object away to avoid negative emotional transference, and try again the next time a negative emotion comes up. If they get better, focus on that feeling. You can silently track your emotional progress, or think or say out loud some variation of, ďIím safe because [name] is hereĒ, or, ď[name] is helping me feel more [positive emotion that youíre experiencing]Ē.

    The mind is a very powerful tool, and it wonít be long before you discover how much calmer and more secure you feel with your security object around. If any of you have such objects, or have further suggestions for enabling effective bonding, Iíd love to hear about them below!

  2. #2

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    Thank you for this it's funny how you just made this post since I was at work yesterday and my wife came to see me saying I have a surprise for you in the car I looked and it's was a large stuffed husky it's very special to me being that it was a gift that I didn't ask for I'm even starting to sleep with it since these last few days she has been doing the night shift at work and it makes me feel as though I'm not alone so it seems like I'm on the right track here so thank you for making this post

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    One thing that I say to all parents around me, could also be very valid for adults or littles, if your child is developing a bond on a favorite plushie, blankie or anything, once you are sure they have it as a security object, go grab at least 3-4 copies of the exact same blankie or plushie or toy at the store, and hide them safely, in case the favorite object is lost, broken or what else, you can sneakily replace it. I was with my family and my niece who is 21 months old, we were at the apple orchard picking up apples and she lost her favorite friend, a nice little dog that she has since she was born, thanks for her mommy, she actually got 10 of them and always have a spare one in her car and they are still on sale right now, so it was quickly replaced. Funny thing is her brother that will be 3 months in 2 days has developed a small love for the same dog, its not 100% sure because he's still too small to really bond to objects, I could be rwrong here, but it helps quiet him up when he's fussy, he only take his binky if the dog is with him.

    Personal story, I still have a plushie that I consider is my safety object, its in my bed, I can leave him for a few weeks and never get him with me on travels, but once I'm in my bed, I need to cuddle this little dinosaur, I got this one when I was 6 or 7 at a camp, and he never left me since.

    So don't forget, everything can happen to your favorite friends, notice for the caretakers, don't hesitate to grab a few once your little has made a choice.

  5. #5

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    So I am going to be completely honest, I didn't read through your entire post, however I did skin through.
    Anyways, I was reading and realized I've already got a few comfort items. One is my blanket from long ago. I've still got it, as well as many other things (Im kind of sentimental with some things)....
    Anyways, another item is my necklace. I almost never wear it, but I keep it in the case on my phone. In description, the necklace is slightly bigger than a quarter and is silver and round. One side is purely silver and the other has one side of a yin yang engraved on it (minus the dot). On the other side of the yin yang there is a dot engraved. On the engraved side, there is six lines that are about the same thickness. Each line is filled with some kind of paint. The colors go red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I am gay, and I got this necklace a while back as a symbol or even a reminder to myself that it is okay to be who I am and that I should be at peace with myself.
    Again, I don't wear it in public and I don't wear it above clothes for those rare moments that I do wear it. As i read through your post, I read something about naming my object. I've never really thought about it till now but I would say its my peace. A reminder that its okay to be me and that I should be at peace with every part of myself.
    Also, I apologize for the long response... However, at this moment. while writing this reply, i was feeling sad and I needed to talk to someone but that didn't happen so this is what I did instead... it helped so thanks...❤

  6. #6

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    I grew up with teddy bears and (at first) one doll. I never gave them up and on the worst nights, sleep with several, basically as many as can fit in a bed with me and my wife. Christine is my teddy bear, carrying the name from several bears that came before her over my lifetime since I was a pre-teen.

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