Grounding for Anxiety
Grounding exercises for your body
Do a quick body scan.
What feels tense? Most often, we hold tension in our jaws, hands, shoulders, and between the eyes. Take a minute several times to soften everything, and release any stress you may be holding in your body.
Visualize a wave of warm water slowly washing over your body, starting with your head. As the wave passes over your body, relax those parts. Let go of any tension or angst stored in your muscles and skin.
The best way to be consistent with this practice is to do it right before you do something else- for example, before you sit down for lunch, shower, or check your inbox.
Doing a body scan is an excellent way to ground yourself for anxiety and check-in with yourself, both physically and mentally.
Acknowledge your body
If your body has changed over the last few months, honor it, and thank it for protecting you from illness and keeping you alive during such trying times. It has housed fears, anxiety, frustrations, boredom... but also notable wins and resilience.
Remember to go slow.
If it's been a while since you've made it a habit of incorporating movement into your day, don't just throw on your running shoes and head out the door. Rushing into exercise after a period of rest can lead to injuries, soreness, and general discouragement. Instead, start slowly and mindfully. If you haven't heard of Yoga with Adrienne, look her up now! You can find a collection of yoga flows ranging from 5 minutes to an hour on her Youtube channel. Her yoga flows are also organized by mood and what you are trying to achieve through your practice.
Remember, even slow movement is good movement. By moving our bodies, we release stagnant energy in our cells and help push toxins out of our bones. Moving our bodies also increases circulation and brings fresh oxygen to all of our cells, making us feel more rejuvenated and reinvigorated than when we began.
Grounding your emotions
No matter how you are feeling, make it a point to record it. Living through a global pandemic, and all that implies, is a test of strength and resilience. One of the best ways to cope with this is to record it. After all, these are unprecedented times that you'll want to tell your kids and grandkids about someday.
While you're journaling (or trying to get started), gently remind yourself that done is better than perfect. It doesn't have to be precise; it just needs to be completed.
To make sure you are consistent with your journaling practice, explore different methods that work for you. Do you prefer to take some time in the morning? Or right before bed? Look into digital journaling as well- there are tons of apps out there that make it super easy to journal right from your phone or computer.
Take the time for emotional reflection. But don't stop there... notice how pausing and recording your thoughts and feelings makes you feel.
Check out this post if you need some journaling inspiration to stay grounded during this trying time.
Explore your creativity
Take 15 minutes a day to explore your creativity, whether in the kitchen, scrapbooking, learning a new instrument, or expressive writing. The result isn't what matters- it's the process and how it forces you to go outside your comfort zone and explore different ways of thinking, feeling, and creating. If you have kids at home, this is a great time to explore their creativity, too, and spend some quality time together. Not only is it great for your children to see you invest some time into a creative endeavor, but it also gives them the freedom to explore their talents and new ways of expressing themselves.
Grounding with nature
Do something that is both active and intentional, such as a walking meditation. While it may be tempting to catch up on your podcasts or Taylor Swift's latest album, resist the urge to bring your phone on your walk. Think about immersing yourself in your surroundings by asking the following questions...
What is the smallest object I can see? What is the brightest? What is the furthest thing I can identify?
How does the air feel on my skin? Which way is the wind blowing?
What can you touch right next to you? Can you guess the texture of something only by looking at it?
What can you hear? How close are those sounds?
How does the ground feel? How does your body feel as it walks?
As you walk, think about how your body is moving through space. During sitting meditation, your primary focus is on your breath and air movement through your body. On the other hand, in walking meditation, you want to focus on your feet, legs, and how your muscles move harmoniously together to propel your body forward.
Grounding, or Earthing
Sit, stand, or lie somewhere barefoot. The theory behind earthing is that by making contact with the Earth barefoot, you allow Earth's electrical charges to pass through your body, positively affecting health. If this sounds too woo-woo for you, as it did for me, check out this study that explains how the practice of grounding may be just as important as breathing in clean air and eating nutritious foods.
Grounding with people
While a Zoom happy hour will never replace the joy of sipping a margarita with your best friend, there are other ways of connecting and feeling that sense of togetherness that we so desperately need.
Send a "just because" gift or letter.
Nothing is as heartwarming as receiving a surprise gift or handwritten letter in the mail when you least expect it. Even the smallest of gifts can tell a friend you've been thinking about her, even if you can't see each other.
Alternatively, write a heartfelt letter about how you're coping, how you've spent your time, and what reminded you of her.
Make this process as intentional as possible- from writing the letter or wrapping the gift, to picking out the stamp. Infuse each act with awareness and love.
Or maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a lovely gift… this post has some explains how buying yourself some lingerie might be just what you need to ground yourself and prevent anxiety.
Replace quantity with quality when it comes to
While the CDC still recommends social distancing and mask-wearing, you can get together outdoors in small numbers pretty safely. If you have space, host a socially distanced dinner party outdoors with just one or two other friends. Find brightly-colored tablecloths, use candles, and fairy lights to create a restaurant vibe.
If you don't have adequate space outdoors, why not organize a socially-distanced picnic? Tell everyone to bring a blanket, snacks, and beverages, sit six feet apart and revel in that feeling of being together, even when you're six feet apart.
Ditch the "how are you" in favor of more mindful conversation
Have you ever played Table Topics? While you don't have to buy the game, you can take a card out of the deck to inspire more profound conversations with your loved ones, family, or coworkers.
Think about different ways to apply this- for example, try kicking off your next work meeting with a scintillating question. Or, next time you have a Zoom family reunion, take turns picking a question from the deck and asking a random family member to answer.
Whether the topics are silly, heartfelt, or earnest (or all three!), opening a conversation with a mindful question leaves you and others feeling more connected than a generic "how are you." Conscious conversation topics are a great way to deepen existing relationships and foster new ones.
Honor your boundaries
While this may seem redundant, remember to respect your boundaries, even (especially!) in your virtual space.
Carve out times that you do not want to be disturbed and adjust your devices' settings accordingly. (Bonus points if you use this time to practice anything mentioned in this article!)
Chances are, there are ways you can adjust the settings on your phone and inbox to snooze notifications for a certain amount of time. Just because we're spending most of our time in virtual spaces these days does not mean that we need to be readily available and reachable at any time of day!
Set yourself some healthy boundaries, and stick to them. Remember to use this time in a way that nurtures your mind, body, and soul. While you may feel the urge to check your phone, scroll through Instagram, or check out our latest blog post, remember that unplugging is just as important as spending some time alone now and again. Spending time alone allows us to ground ourselves, be in the present, and protect our emotional health from whatever is going on in the outside world (here’s looking at you, COVID!).
How have you found ways of staying grounded to the ones you love, including yourself? We'd love to hear from you; comment below!
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