Grounding yourself to help relieve overwhelm

Mindfulness #101 

Life can feel so overwhelming at times that it’s not uncommon to feel like you would just like to step off of the constant hamster wheel for a while. The more life is filled with busyness and complexity the more stressed we become and the more disconnected we become from present moment awareness leading ultimately to anxiety. 

When we feel stressed the world can quickly begin to feel like a threatening place, we can start over-reacting to the smallest of triggers and anxiety can whisk us away to the future, where we waste our time trying to magically solve situations that haven’t even arisen yet. 

Thankfully  there is a remedy for this feeling and it isn’t as unlikely as winning the lottery or as improbable as waking up in the morning without any problems it is a more tangible technique which can help right now and that you can start practising today. 

It’s called Grounding and is a way of bringing our awareness back into the present, back into the body and back into the senses. 

To be consciously present in the senses and the body is a powerful way to regulate overwhelm, create connection, passion, compassion and creativity. An anchor to the present moment can aid clarity and focus. 

Grounding  yourself is easy to do and can be of benefit immediately..

Here’s where to start: 

1.   Find somewhere you can sit comfortably for a moment with a straight back and a relaxed body. Make sure both feet are squarely on the floor. I find resting my hands openly, palms up, on my thighs helps me to remain open,

2.   Close your eyes and focus in on your breathing. Breathe slowly and each time you breathe out, imagine you are breathing out some of the tension you are feeling right now.

3.   Notice your connection to the ground through your feet and as you continue to exhale tensions, see if you can notice the sensations in the bottom of your soles.

4.   Now shift your focus to the weight of you body in the chair. Can you feel the connection of you body with the present?

5. Keep breathing deeply and slowly, inhaling peace and exhaling tension. Continue to focus your awareness on the sensations in your feet and the weight of your body in the chair.

6.  Now I invite you to extend your awareness to your entire body, how does it feel in your body, in the present moment, if you mind starts to wonder bring your focus gently and kindly back to your breath. Use your breath as an anchor to your present awareness.

Continue with this until you feel settled and centred, that might be a few minutes, it may take longer on difficult days.

Every time you become overwhelmed of find yourself engaging with anxious thoughts, make a mental effort to hit the STOP button, take a moment and ground yourself.

Michelle Brown dip.couns. MBACP is an experienced registered counsellor practising Integrative Counselling in Tunbridge Wells.