We are all going through a great time of uncertainty at the moment and it’s very natural to be experiencing some degree of instability at a collective and individual level. The disruption to our daily lives, changes to our routines, limitations to our choices and liberties and uncertainty about the future can leave us feeling disconnected, scattered and ungrounded. Grounding means to bring your focus to what is happening now in your surrounding and your body to help calm the mind and release you from unhelpful or anxious thoughts. Grounding yourself in the present moment helps you to stop worrying about the future and appreciate what is here now – here are five exercises to help you feel some comfort, support and stability in these uncertain times:
Walking barefoot can be an incredibly grounding experience. Your feet get a massage from the ground, you can feel and sense the temperature, texture and moisture of the earth which we are so often disconnected from. Take your shoes of and find a patch of natural ground to stand on. Take some steps and feel your feet connecting to the ground. Feel the connection between your body and Mother Earth. You can imagine roots growing from your feet down into the earth, connecting you to nature. Close your eyes and let your feet be your guides.
Tree hugging is not just for hippies! In these times of social distancing where hugs can be few and far between, hugging a tree can be profoundly nourishing and grounding. Trees are strong, sturdy and supportive, with roots anchored in the ground and branches towering into the sky. Big trees can be hundreds of years old and long out-live us– let the wise old tree guide you back to nature and yourself. Lean into the tree as you give your hug, let it support you. Feel the texture and pattern of the bark. Feel gratitude for the tree for the oxygen you breathe.
The mountain meditation is a guided meditation exercise in which you visualise a mountain; strong, ancient, enduring through every season and storm. The mountain is a symbol of stability and in this meditation we evoke the presence of the mountain to connect us with our eternal, infinite self. Underneath the storms and seasons of emotions, we can find unfaltering peace, just like the mountain. You can try the guided mountain meditation here.
In times of uncertainty and anxiety, tuning into our senses can help quieten our minds. Try mindful eating; when you bring your full awareness to each mouthful and concentrate with no distractions as you notice the smell, taste and texture of your food. Aromatherapy is a great way to tune into your sense of smell – essential oils from trees, barks and resins are particularly grounding - try burning some Frankincense, Sandalwood, Lavender or Myrrh, or burn some resin-rich Palo Santo. Explore your sense of touch with self-massage; this incredibly self-soothing and nourishing exercise helps stimulates oxytocin in our body which calms the nervous system and is the neurochemical foundation of trust and connection.
You can’t always control what happens around you but you can control how you react. React to uncertainty by spreading kindness, help someone else feel better during their own uncertainty which in turn will help you by taking the focus off of yourself. Be an ear to listen for someone else. By thinking of and helping others we can cultivate a sense of gratitude for our own situation. We are all in this together after all.