How to Stay Grounded When Life Gets More and More Stressful with This Mindfulness Exercise
How to Stay Grounded?
This week the theme I’ve noticed in various circles, has been overwhelm, stress, anxiety, uncertainty – fill in the blank with a word that fits for you.
We’re all going to experience stressful times in our life but the key question is:
How to Stay Grounded When Life Is Spinning?
I’ve been teaching this concept to children as well as adults.
When we think of grounding ourselves, we naturally think of metaphorically and literally keeping our feet on the ground. With this in mind, there is a popular mindfulness exercise called: Soles of the Feet, which was originally designed as an anger management exercise, but could be used for grounding a variety of emotions.
In this exercise, you sit comfortably with your feet placed on the floor or stand and be aware of your feet on the floor.
Once your feet are grounded, think of whatever is upsetting, stressful, overwhelming etc. and just name and notice the thoughts and feelings.
After a few minutes, shift your focus to your feet, and notice your toes touching the floor or the feeling of socks and/or shoes on your feet. Notice where the ball of your foot is, the arch of your foot and the heel of your foot.
Take deep breaths and imagine (or some adults/children will actually feel) a calm energy coming through the soles of the feet.
Think of the soles of the feet as being a grounding conductor for absorbing the energy charge of your distress.
Continue to breathe and focus on the soles of the feet until you feel more calm.
I love this exercise because we can do it anywhere. We might be standing up having a difficult conversation with someone, we might be standing up about to give a presentation or we might be in the privacy of our homes or office and have the ability to sit down and spend a few minutes doing this grounding exercise.
I also like this exercise because it really helps us get out of our heads at the top of our body, to a more secure base at the bottom of our body – our feet.
(For another mindfulness exercise to say grounded, called Willing Hands, click here.
Other Types of Activities to Stay Grounded
-Attending church (not all churches are focussed on a specific religion – if you prefer a church which is more spiritual, you could locate a Unitarian church or Unity church near you)
-Walking in nature
-Biking, jogging, swimming etc.
Set Boundaries and Prioritize
The list goes on but the main idea is to prioritize setting boundaries when you’re feeling really stressed.
Say “no” to activities that will drain you of your energy, even though you might typically enjoy them.
Say “yes” to quiet, restorative activities which you know will help you to stay grounded.
Sometimes we think the busier we are the less we have time to meditate or do yoga or any other restorative activity for ourselves, but actually we need to remind ourselves that the more stressed we are, the more we need to focus on doing the activities that can replenish us so we can handle the stress.
Key Point: The busier we are, the more we think we don’t have time to meditate when actually, the busier we are, the more we need to meditate!
I also think of this whole concept in terms of balance and the Chinese symbol of Yin and Yang.
If the stressful parts of our life are crowding out the lighter parts of our life, it’s time to make some adjustments.
We’re always going to have some stress, and some times of our lives are going to be more stressful than others, but if we can try to “up” the nurturing activities, it will help us to stay grounded and cope better.
This is a wonderful gift that we can role model for our children, as we try to live our lives by example.
In my self-empowerment groups for children ages 7-9 yrs. and 10-12 yrs., we spend some time looking at ways to self-regulate and stay grounded. Registration has just opened for the next round of self-empowement groups, please click here (and go to “upcoming groups/events”) to register online and click here to read the flyer with more information.
Hope you can find some ways to feel grounded this week,
PS. To receive my one page pdf (with live links) of my favourite 6 calming apps for adults and children, please click here.
PPPS. Please forward this article to a friend or family member if you could think it could be helpful for them.
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