Ever had the feeling that something is just “off” but can’t put your finger on what? Or felt spaced out, distracted and unable to start or finish really small things? Or maybe it’s just a feeling of low-key anxiety that’s really clinging on, or getting bizarrely pissed off at tiny things.
If any or all of the above are sounding familiar, don’t panic! They’re all really common signs that you may just need to ground. For those not familiar, grounding yourself is basically balancing your physical, emotional, mental and energy state when your nervous system is all over the place. If that sounds abstract, don’t worry, there are loads of straightforward techniques you can use to bring your attention back to the present, and to help your nervous system chill tf out. We asked wellness professionals to tell us about some of their go-to’s.
Rory, 29, breathwork instructor
Breath is one of the most powerful ways to bring your body and mind back into alignment. There are all kinds of crazy techniques you can use, but I’m a huge fan of sticking with the basics. Whenever shit hits the fan in my inner world, I do the following and it helps clear my mind and brings me back to centre.
- Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
- Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
- Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until calm returns.
Rosie, 33, yoga instructor + health coach
When I feel overwhelmed and my nervous system is activated, I find the most helpful thing to do is distract myself with temperature, plus it feels amazing. A hot shower, followed by a blast of 10 seconds of cold can work wonders. Another one I like to do (and I know this sounds random) is place an ice cube in my hand. I think about what it feels like, how the sensations change, when the ice starts to melt. You literally can’t think of anything else, and it works!
Katie, 42, meditation teacher
Stress is just your mind in overdrive. Something I teach my students and see working all the time is visualisation meditation. Colour breathing is great, which is where you imagine a calming colour washing over you everytime you breathe in, or my other favourite is “calm place”, which works well with traumatic stress symptoms. Close your eyes and picture somewhere that makes you feel happy. Focus on what you can see, hear, smell. It’s a brilliant way to break negative thought loops.
Use your senses
Christian, 44, bodyworker
Sensory overload can feel scary as anything, and one way of overcoming it is to channel one of them onto one specific thing. Start by naming one thing that you can currently see, smell, taste, touch and hear. Take your shoes and socks off and find a patch of grass. Walk around and feel the earth contacting your feet. Smell your favourite perfume, scent or essential oil. Getting specific helps you to tune everything else out for a while.
Pia, 35, kinesiologist
Self-massage is one of the best things you can do to emotionally regulate, because stress builds up in certain areas of the body. GIving yourself the time and space to intuitively soothe your own body is SO beneficial, and it feels amazing.
Article Written by Ianthe Jacob
Article Image Credit @oaknarrow