Living in a fast-paced world, working in a high stress environment, or keeping up with a never ending to-do list can cause our heads to spin a little bit. With the pressures and stress of every day life it can become pretty easy to feel un-grounded. Anxiety is a common sensation when things begin to feel out of control. Stress happens to all of us and at times it impacts some more than others. Now, more than ever, it’s extremely important to find ways to calm our nervous systems and ground ourselves.
What does grounding mean? It’s about finding ways to bring yourself back to the present moment. Anytime we are feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed we are caught up in our minds and not in our bodies. In order to bring yourself back into your body and feel more calm you must learn how to ground yourself, even in moments of chaos and uncertainty.
In this article we’re going to share the 6 best tools for grounding yourself! If you practice these daily you’ll be sure to eventually regulate your nervous system and feel more centred.
Breathing: One of the most powerful, effective, and free tools we can use to regulate our nervous systems is breathing. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which sends a signal to your brain saying it’s okay to calm down and relax. Telling you that you’re safe.
There are many different breathing exercises that experts recommend for when you feel anxious and stressed.
One of the best breathing techniques you can do is box breathing. The best way you can visualize this breathing technique is to imagine a square shaped box in front of you. You’re going to start by breathing in for a count of 4, holding your breath for a count of 4, breathing out for a count of 4, and breathing in for a count of 4 again. You can repeat this cycle as many times as you need to when feeling panic, nervousness, or anxiety. This will help to slow your breathing and heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
Another breathing technique you can try out is the 4-7-8 technique. In order to practice this you’re going to start by inhaling for a count of 4 seconds, then holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This breathing technique won’t come naturally right away but by practicing it twice a day you’ll be able to work your way up to doing this more often.
Movement: Another fantastic way to ground yourself is by moving your body! Many of us have sedentary jobs and are lacking the exercise our body needs to feel its best. The good news about movement for grounding yourself is that it doesn’t need to be long or strenuous. Movement for your nervous system can be as simple as yoga, a walk outside, or some stretching. By moving the body we’re getting out of our heads and into our physical form, allowing us to release pent up energy.
Nature: The term “grounding” actually comes from being in nature and planting your feet on the ground or earth. Studies have actually found that contact of the body with the Earth actually provides a multitude of benefits for the body such as reduced inflammation, stress, pain, improved blood flow, better sleep, and so much more. Sitting, walking, or standing barefoot in grass, soil, or even sand can help you feel grounded and amazing.
Cold or hot therapy: There has been a lot of talk lately about cold showers and all of the benefits they provide. A cold shower or ice bath may seem like something that would induce anxiety, but with practice, the opposite is actually true. Mentally, cold therapy is great because it trains your brain to realize that it can actually handle discomfort and that you’re stronger than you think. Physically, cold therapy actually helps to lower cortisol levels in the body and lowers the heart rate. This allows you to feel more relaxed and calm overall.
Meditation: It’s so easy to get lost in our thoughts and spiral into worries and fears, it happens to the best of us. When you start to feel overwhelmed by internal chatter one amazing tool you can use is meditation. Meditating is a practice that trains attention and awareness.
The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t have to be a super long process, even taking 5 minutes of your day to listen to a guided meditation or sit in silence can truly help to lower stress, anxiety, and help to bring you back to the present moment.
If you haven’t tried meditating before there are certain apps available that can help you to get started, some of them include: Headspace, Insight Timer, and Calm. These all have a variety of meditations you can follow from guided to music. Just like anything else, it’s important to commit yourself to the practice of meditation before seeing some lasting results. Extensive research has claimed that significant benefits from meditation can be achieved in eight weeks. All it takes is 10 minutes a day!
Ignite your senses: Most human beings are lucky enough to be equipped with five working senses: Sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste. Through these senses we can ground ourselves and practice being mindful. If you are in a quiet place while you’re reading this, one thing you can try is to do is to ignite those five senses right now. Try this out!
- Look around you, what can you see in your surroundings?
- What do you feel around you?
- Can you hear anything in particular?
- What can you smell?
- Do you taste anything?
After practicing this exercise, take note of how you feel. Are you more centred and grounded? Are you more calm? What’s great about igniting your senses is that you can really do it at any time! Practice this tool when you feel overstimulated to reap the best benefits possible.
Hopefully you’ve gained some more insight and knowledge into ways you can help to calm the storm that we all face at times. As much as we can try to avoid things like stress, anxiety, or uncertainty we are all going to face it at one point or another. By equipping yourself with tools for grounding you will begin to feel more in control and safe when moments of turbulence do come up in life.
What was your favorite grounding technique that you learned from this article? We would love to hear from you in the comment section of our blog!
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