‘Grounding’ means connecting to the here and now (that includes thoughts, feelings, your body and the world around you).
Our brains have on average, 48 thoughts per minute, 60,000 thoughts per day, 25.5 million thoughts per year. Particularly at the moment, I think we’re all struggling with lots of different thought and emotions on what’s being called the ‘coronacoaster’. We’ve all experienced worry in one way or another during this time and the reality is that are minds are full, and it’s really easy to get carried away with ourselves. It can be very difficult to manage.
That’s why it’s so important to be able to take control and ground ourselves. To make sure you’re not continually carried away with each and every one of these individual thoughts and to create some moments just for you, to remind yourself that you’re a wonderful, talented, unique human, living and breathing in this moment making it as best as you can. Mindfulness is one way of helping you take control of our minds and creating a moment of calm.
Mindfulness is a really simple concept. It’s the practice of grounding, and bringing you into the moment… Right now. Not thinking about the past, or the future. This sounds a lot easier than it actually is, as we tend to spend most of our time either in the future (worrying, feeling anxious, stressed) or in the past (wallowing in guilt, regret and sadness).
Mindfulness brings us back into the present moment, focusing on what’s going on in the ‘here and now’ and it’s not about fixing or changing anything… It’s just about having awareness. That means that instead of REACTING emotionally when something happens, you can stay in control and choose how to RESPOND in difficult times.
There are so many quick and simple mindfulness activities that you can complete whenever you feel you need to ‘ground’ yourself and positively affect your wellbeing. Here are a few ideas
- Breathing techniques. Square or box breathing technique is something I use on a daily basis to calm myself and bring my attention back into the moment. You breathe in for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds and wait for 4 seconds before breathing again. You can visualise each breath representing one side of a box.
- Bare feet. Taking your shoes and socks off and feeling the ground beneath your feet is a perfect way to feel grounded. I’m lucky enough to live next to the beach so bare footed walks on the sand have been a regular feature of my lockdown, focusing on the feeling of the warm sand or the cold sea between my toes. But even if you can’t get to a beach, but how does carpet feel under your feet? How does grass feel if you have a garden?
- Writing. Just writing your thoughts down as they come to you can be very powerful to bring your attention back to what you’re experiencing in the here and now (this is called stream of consciousness writing). This can also help you to understand any confusing or challenging emotions you’re experiencing.
- Gratitude. Ask yourself, what 3 things are you grateful for today? What are you grateful for that has come with lockdown? Numerous studies have proven the benefits of gratitude for emotional wellbeing. Actively practicing gratitude regularly retrains your brain to see the positive, reduces toxic emotion and shifts the focus of your attention to what you have, rather than what you don’t have in your life at the moment.
- Awareness of thoughts. Set alarms or have visual aids such as a post it note on your desk or a piece of jewellery, things that trigger you to focus on the present moment
- Mindful activities. Commit to certain activities that you will complete mindfully (eating lunch? Drinking tea? Brushing teeth? Washing up? Playing your instrument? Singing?)
- Body scan. There’s also another activity called a body scan, which is a quick activity to ‘scan’ the whole body and notice how you feel. Not to change anything, just to recognise where you’re at today.
No matter what activity you choose, the idea is to bring yourself back into the moment, breathing, back to things you can control and away from unnecessary or unhelpful stresses and worries.
We’d love to know what you’re doing at the moment to ‘ground’ yourself, what works for you?
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