By: Ana Mepham
I thought it would be a good idea to touch on a few ways I ground myself. My sister and I were having this conversation the other day. She is 18 and life is changing rapidly for her. She has her final year in secondary school and as we all know this means final exams, points, success, courier choice, Uni choice, I mean the list is somewhat endless to a teenager at this transition in their lives. She is excited to be going forward but also somewhat anxious about it. More responsibility, big changes, I mean she is a grown up now and no longer the baby of the family. So as we sat talking she said it would be good for me to write about what is very easy but works well for calming ourselves in hectic times.
Now before I get onto the grounding techniques I use, lets talk about what it is your brain is doing when you go into panic stations, irrational or rational.
Lets discuss the Amygdala; The Amygdala is the region of the brain that primarily associated with emotional process. The amygdala helps coordinate responses to things in your environment, especially those that trigger an emotional response. This structure plays an important role in fear and anger. It is great for preparing emergency events but sometimes kicks in to action and detects a threat when there really isn't any.
For an example; we have a negative thought about something, bare in mind this is not real it is a thought. Our trusty amygdala sends messages to our nervous system saying “Emergency! Emergency!”. This signals our body to get ready which will start to change things in out body such as increased muscle tension, rapid heartbeat and faster breathing. The amygdala then interprets these body changes as further evidence that something is actually wrong which of course further activates it and creates a vicious cycle where you become more and more anxious, physically and emotionally overwhelmed.
Thankfully we can use grounding techniques to break out this vicious cycle. By re-enforcing on your body and what you’re physically feeling. You get out of your head a divert your mind away from anxious and stressful thoughts and into the moment.
Breathing, seems like its very simple and indeed it is. Yet, a majority of us do not breath properly. Especially when we are stressed. I find myself doing this technique whenever I am about to perform a task or I have finished a task. Three deep breaths in and out. Mind, body and soul. Sit up straight if you are sitting, drop your shoulders, take a deep breath in for four and out for six. Feel your lungs filling and diaphragm expanding. Hold the breath and then release. Repeat three times and you will feel each time you drop those shoulders and breath out the mind is calming the body. It is scientifically proven to center the mind and allow your nervous system to essential reboot itself. Focus on the task or feeling at hand and allow it to be what it is and on release allow the release.
Sometimes we also need the physical touch of something to put our energy into or to even draw our energy from. To see something or feel something can make a big difference to how we react. When I was younger I remember my Mum asking me to get her purse from her handbag. So as I went rooting I found a little purse. I pulled it out and opened this colorful, fabric purse with a zip on the top. I opened it to find six little handmade dolls. Tiny little things, I asked Mum what they were for and she replied “They are my Guatemalan worry dolls, when I am struggling I hold them and tell them all my problems and then put them back”. So like my Mum maybe you could find something that you could tell your problems too. Just getting it out, no judgement, no response and no reaction but your own.
Crystals are also something a lot of people look into. Harnessing energy to protect yourself from negative energies. They have numerous amount of powers from healing to protection. They come in all shapes and sizes. You can wear them on your body as a necklace or a bracelet. A book we have here in Solace on which we all use is called “The Crystal Bible” a great book for anyone interested on learning more about them.
We can also ground ourselves by scents, Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).
Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one. Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.
Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:
· “You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.”
· “You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
· “You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”
Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.
Simple techniques that we can try and see which one suits you and then practice this method when you are feeling a bit up in the air. As we know muscle memory is huge and we are creatures of habit. You will find eventually that subconsciously you will be doing what suits you and grounds you unbeknownst to yourself.
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Solace Holistic Centre
10 Sand Quay Mill
Tel: 087 9510554 // 023 8859701
Located in the Old Grainstore on Clarke Street.
In between the Clona Factory and Fiddlers.