Ways To Help You Get Grounded and Settled Into Your Body During Stressful Times
Are there days when you feel overwhelmed, fearful or anxious, where you find yourself holding in your breath? Sometimes, these feelings can be brought on by a single, traumatic event, and other times, it’s an accumulation of events that weigh you down. Both can bring on nervousness, confusion, insecurity, and inability to focus. A word for this is STRESS, and everyone experiences it on some level or another.
Handling the Primitive Mind
The human mind & body have evolved to release adrenaline and cortisol—also known as the stress hormone–when we sense a threat. These threats, whether real or perceived, typically come from daily, mundane fears, such as losing a job, encountering gruesome stories in movies or television, or even the inability to meet certain deadlines.
What happens next? A hormone-stimulated response is activated, and adrenaline is released. The ability to act rationally vanishes and you are thrust into fight-or-flight mode. This can lead to a weakened immune system, and can cause psychosomatic maladies to crop up, with gastrointestinal disorders leading the way. It also doesn’t make for good decision making.
Why Get Grounded?
Our present modern lifestyle is demanding. We engage in several activities without taking the time to breathe or to relax in moments of quiet reflection. On a daily basis we are negatively stimulated and distracted. When our minds are always engaged in other activities away from the present, it is impossible to experience calm and peacefulness. Ultimately, we are hard-pressed to enjoy life as a result. We’re simply too busy, managing all of life’s demands, and usually all at once.
All of us go through stress daily, however, how we handle stress is the biggest challenge. Handling stress inadequately can be destructive to our health. Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, among many other health issues, have been tied to elevated stress levels. To make positive changes, and get the chaos of life in order, it’s imperative to integrate grounding processes in your daily life.
What are Grounding mechanisms?
These are several methods to help you connect to yourself and to find alignment with the world around you. These methods serve to have you be conscious, and to powerfully deal with apprehension, distress, and panic attacks. Grounding oneself in these techniques help to alleviate worry and serve to help you relax during moments of stress.
Ways to get grounded and settled into your body
How does one effectively recover from stress? There are ways to manage daily stressors using grounding methods, such as meditation and mindfulness, that are quick and efficient. Once you’ve chosen the modality that best works for you, practice it daily if possible. While stress can be debilitating (and in some cases, life-threatening) you have the power to manage it, if not eliminate it completely.
The following grounding exercises can help you manage stress, enhance focus and stay in the present moment.
- Deep Breathing
Our body needs oxygen to function effectively. Stress affects our breathing, and can disrupt our body’s functionality. For optimum health, the human body needs oxygenated blood to pump blood through our veins. This begins with deep, mindful breathing, such as this breathing exercise:
1. Stop whatever you are doing and place your palm on your stomach.
2. With both feet on the floor and eyes shut, breathe in slowly through your nose, and feel your hand move out with the inflation of your stomach.
3. Slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat, until you feel relief and/or a deep sense of calm.
Meditation is a powerful, timeless modality that can lower stress, reduce physical discomfort and provide inner peace.
Reserve a few minutes each day to meditate. To begin, focus on your breath. Choose a soothing topic you can meditate on; something that feels good and promotes stillness. Typically, your mind will drift to random thoughts during meditation. When you notice this, simply focus on your breathing and allow it to guide you back to a quiet mind.
- Get in touch with nature
For most of us, our day-to-day work demands, along with the business of life, consume most of our time and energy. Our minds have become wired by constant, random thoughts, usually spurred on by frenetic thoughts, hard-wired in our conscious mind. This creates restlessness, and hence, we fail to keep track of our well-being in the present moment. Taking time out to enjoy nature is the perfect remedy. Take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and commune with the serenity of nature. Let your conscience be your guide, and do what you enjoy outdoors. This can be as simple as gardening, going for a hike, swimming, or riding a bike.
- Massage and/or positive touch
Studies have shown that massage can lower heartrate, loosen our muscles and stimulate endorphins. Thus, massage is effective for leaving us in a tranquil state. This research has shown that a half-hour session can drastically lower one’s heart rate and reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
At its core, massage is effective for stress relief and living a healthy lifestyle. Making time to receive a massage, or at least positive touch–a long hug or soothing back rub– will also lower your stress level and increase endorphins.
- Quality time with loved ones
Whenever you feel stressed, take a moment to speak with someone you trust & love. Connect with people that make you laugh. Live life close to people who care about you; who inspire compassion and generally make you feel good. These are your built-in support group, who will be there for you to help relieve your mind of stress.
- Hand Tracing
This is a mechanism that helps you relate deeply with yourself, mitigating stress.
1. Slowly & methodically trace your hand on a paper and mark each finger as one of the five senses.
2. Relate to each finger and the corresponding sense, and think of being safe & worry-free.
3. Recall this image with the five senses by heart and keep the paper safe. Whenever you feel stressed or if you feel you are spiraling out of control, look at your hand and recollect each of the symbols for the five senses. This will provide a sense of calm and bring you a feeling of comfort and security.
Practicing yoga can help you let go of stress and anxiety. When done properly, it leaves you feeling soothed, body, mind & spirit. There are certain yoga poses particularly helpful in managing stress. They include the eagle pose, child’s pose, thunderbolt pose and the standing forward fold.
Simply put, exercise and promoting positive thoughts of your body can help to eliminate negative thoughts that weigh us down.
Being chronically stressed pulls us away from living healthy lives. These grounding techniques can help connect our mind, body, and spirit, and allow us to focus on important areas of our lives. If one method doesn’t work, try another until you find peace of mind. Practice each of these methods and stick to one that works efficiently for you, to live a happy, healthy and peaceful life.