What is your strong place?
Our strong places are places that:
- are special to us
- make us feel safe
- help us feel connected
- help us recharge, and
- where our spirit is happy.
For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this is their traditional country or the community they grew up in. For others it might be a place visited a lot for holidays, or the home of their grandparents, sport club or even school.
Connecting to your strong place can help you feel stable when things seem hard. Your strong place can help you:
- recharge when you’re feeling drained
- give you a sense of safety when things seem unsafe.
You may have strong places you share with family and your mob and that is deadly, but you can also find your own strong place and it can be just as special to you.
Staying connected to your strong place
Staying connected to your strong place can help you feel better when you’re having a tough time. There are lots of ways to stay connected to your strong place. These include:
- physically being on or in your strong place
- getting back on country
- returning to your hometown
- simply sitting in your room (if that’s your strong place).
What if connecting to a strong place isn’t possible?
Sometimes it is hard to visit your strong place. If this happens, you might like to think about ways to recreate or reflect your strong place wherever you are. If appropriate you might bring elements of that place to you, like:
- a jar of sand or earth or water from country
- a plant from your grandparents’ garden
- if you need some guidance with this you can ask an Elder.
You can also visualise being in your strong place. To do this:
- get yourself comfortable
- close your eyes and take some slow deep breaths
- visualise yourself in your strong place
- imagine the sounds, the smells and the scenery
- let yourself go there.
What impacts on connection to place?
Things can happen in our lives that can leave us feeling disconnected from place, or sometimes we haven’t found our strong place yet. You might move areas a lot, you might live a long way away from country, or maybe the bush or the beach is too far to get to all the time. Sometimes we choose to disconnect from it. Disconnection to place can happen when you forget those places that are important to you or you can’t visit those important places. Preventing your spirit from charging up on your strong places means you might have less energy and might feel a little empty or flat.
What if I don’t know my strong place yet?
If you haven’t found your strong place yet, that’s OK. Keep searching, tune-in and feel, you’ll eventually find your spot. In the meantime, you will discover so many great new places and people that will help keep your batteries charged along your journey.
- Galambila - Connection to Country
- Identity Matters - Our Connection to the Land
- headspace - Download and create your own Stronger You wheel
- WellMob - Social, emotional and cultural wellbeing online resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
You might want to talk to your family about where your mob are from and where they have felt most comfortable and connected. You could also contact a service like Link-Up to help you find out more.
If you need help with visualising your strong place you can get guidance on visualisation from a counsellor, traditional or spiritual healer and many, many books and websites. Try our activity on mindfulness to get started.
This resource has been developed in partnership with the headspace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Reference Group (Womenjeka Reference Group), Marumali Consultations, the headspace National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and headspace National.
The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.
Last reviewed 1 July 2021.
Wellbeing wheel reference:
Gee, G., Dudgeon, P., Schultz, C., Hart, A, & Kerrie, K. (2014).Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing. In P. Dudgeon., H. Milroy, & R. Walker (Eds.), Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice (2nd Ed.) (pp. 55-68). Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.