Ground Yourself


What is Grounding?

Grounding is a great strategy to help us to connect to our body, which is where our healing resources lie. It provides a way to bring ourselves into the present moment. Grounding can help us temporarily detach from intense emotions and reactions. It's particularly useful for moving out of the fight/flight or freeze state into the ventral vagal/parasympathetic mode or rest and digest/calm mode.

When practiced on a regular basis, grounding can increase our capacity to return to a regulated emotional state. Over time, this translates to building resilience and flexibility of the nervous system.

Grounding is also sometimes called anchoring. An anchor is defined as a "reliable support" and "something that serves to hold an object firmly" by Merrian-Webster. Anchoring gives you a chance to slow things down and gain a sense of control in the moment. Then when you feel ready, you can move into resolving the problem that brought on the intensified response. If you want a solid emotional self-care plan, it's essential to have grounding techniques in your toolbox.

Types of Grounding Practices

There are three types of grounding. Mental grounding is focused on the mind, physical grounding is focused on the senses and body and soothing grounding is using a loving-kindness approach applied to self-talk and our inner dialogue.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Take 3 long, deep breaths. Focus on your lungs expanding with each inhalation and contracting with each exhalation.

Note the details in your immediate environment. Use all five senses to orient yourself to your surroundings and describe in detail what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste. You can do this anytime, anywhere.

Spend time in outdoors. Get out in the fresh air and take a walk, go to the park or for a hike and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Do a few minutes of progressive muscle relaxation. This is a strategy that's been around for a long time and involves placing focus on one part of the body at a time by first tightening and constricting that body part and then releasing and relaxing it. You can work your way through the entire body by starting with the feet and moving to the top of the head.

Bring to mind a loved one. Think about a specific special moment you shared together or something your loved one said to you that made you feel cared for.

Carry a touchstone. A touchstone can be anything that you carry with you that when you physically touch, brings up feelings of comfort. This can be a crystal or palm stone.

Look at a soothing or calming image. This can be a picture of a place you visited or any image that makes you feel calm and centered.

Think of an upcoming event or get together that you're looking forward to. This could be a movie you're planning on seeing by yourself or a gathering where you'll be connecting with friends.

Practice earthing. Earthing is a grounding practice that requires walking/standing on any conductor of electrical energy such as grass, dirt, sand, wood or concrete. Some studies have shown that earthing provides improvement in mood and relief from stress, anxiety and depression.

Some additional strategies include the following:

Stretch or do a few simple yoga poses.

Count to 20 very slowly.

Wash your hands in cool or warm water.

Mindfully sit and drink a cup of tea.

I encourage you to practice all of the above over the course of a few weeks. Then you can choose a combination of strategies that work best for you. Write them down and keep them accessible so you have them the moment you need them. It's also a good idea to measure your progress over time by keeping a log or journaling about your experience.

Happy grounding!



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