I woke up feeling off this morning. A heavy sense of overwhelm felt like it was sitting on top of me. Thoughts of commitments, and assignments, and have-to’s flooded my mind. Sometimes attempting to balance the different aspects of my life is challenging and leaves me feeling extremely ungrounded. Feeling ungrounded is a misguided awareness that I have to figure out every part of my past, present and future right this very second. It feels like I’m racing against a clock to make everything happen perfectly. Needless to say, it’s extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately, the following techniques always help me to get my balance and stability back quickly.
1. Get Outside– It helps to get out into nature when you are feeling ungrounded. Just being around plants, trees, greenery and wildlife can help you feel connected with the world around you. When you feel that familiar feeling of overwhelm creep up, try going outside to a quiet place to take a few deep breaths. Allow your senses to take in their surroundings one by one. Pay attention to what you see, hear, feel and smell. Feel the connection between yourself and these other living organisms. This always provides me with immediate relief.
2. Visualization- Even if you don’t have time for a full on mediation, try to take a couple of minutes to yourself and sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths to get centered. Begin to visualize your body connecting with the earth below. Feel how you are supported by that solid foundation. Know that you are safe here in this quiet place. This practice, even if it only lasts for a few minutes, will help to clear your mind of clutter and unnecessary anxiety ridden thoughts.
3. Incorporate a Breathing Technique- Unfortunately the feeling of being ungrounded can come at you quickly and unexpectedly. If you are familiar with this sense of overwhelm, and cannot escape your surroundings to go outside or work on a visualization, a breathing technique can be helpful. It can also be done discreetly. One of my favorites is 4-7-8 breathing. This is a three-stage breathing exercise. Breathe in, through your nose, for a count of four; hold the breath for a count of seven; release the breath through your nose for a count of eight. Repeat this cycle as many times as you need. This breath will immediately calm your nervous systems and, in turn, will calm your over zealous mind. I love using this breath when I am feeling overwhelmed in public and need a personal time out.
4. Sweat It Out- My other favorite way of releasing negative thoughts and getting grounded is to go for a run or a vigorous hike. I love the feeling of the air rushing through my lungs and the awareness of my muscles working together. Being active is a great way to focus on something other than your recurring thoughts, or the burden of your responsibilities, because you are focused on how your body is feeling instead. The endorphins that flow through your body during physical activity will also have a positive effect on your overall well being, leaving you feeling grounded and accomplished.
I hope these techniques will be helpful for you. Please feel free to share any grounding methods that have been successful for you!