When we go through the day running from one activity to the next, one problem to the next, one task to the next, the brain and the body are the last things that get time and consideration. And that, creates problems. These problems manifest as feelings of too much stress, an inability to cope with
To be grounded means to be present, aware, and attentive to your body and your brain, so that problems with this highly important relationship do not develop.
There are many ways that one can get grounded. I am going to cover 6 in the same categories I covered last week. I chose these categories, because there is research and centuries of experience behind them. None of my suggestions in this writing are time consuming. You have 12-16+ hours in a day. You can take 1-8 (yes, that's 1-8 not 18) minutes here and there and practice the following easy techniques.
1) Cognitive Behavior Therapy: This is an awareness exercise. We often are unaware of the body/brain processes until they are screaming out to us - "feed me!" Close your eyes and notice the breath. Then, notice what you are feeling in the body. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Etc. What's happening in your brain? Are you distracted? Happy? Anxious? Etc. Then, open your eyes. What do you see around you? What do you hear? Go through the senses. Do this once or multiple times in a day.
2) Power Pose: This pose is called Sukhasana (soo-KAH-sah-nah). It means easy pose, but for some it is not very easy. The power of this pose that I would like to focus on is in the pelvis. Think of the pelvis as a butterfly shape and make it your goal to sit with the pelvis straight up and down. We all have a tilt in the pelvis - forward at the hip bones or forward at the tail bone. The straight up and down position creates power in that it enables us to sit upright through the spine and the upright stance prevents the slump. When we slump, we have less energy, we feel less confident, and we are less engaged and more isolated from the external world. So, whether you sit on the floor as pictured or just in a chair with your feet on the floor, no matter. Just find a way to adjust the pelvis and sit upright!
3) Relaxation: Progressive relaxation is a common tool used in yoga classes, therapy sessions, and wellness classes. It teaches awareness of tension. The brain and the body communicate both ways. The body tells the brain some things and vice versa. Tension in the body communicates - "Yikes! Something is not ok!!!" If the brain gets this message, it will continue to send out stress hormones and now you are stuck in a vicious cycle. We carry around tension without awareness and as habit. Practice progressive relaxation anytime, but it is especially helpful before bed. Here is a video to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyauYKLdWfE
4) Meditate: Sit as instructed above. Close or soften your eyes. As you inhale, feel like you are lifting and rising taller, extending upward. As you exhale, feel you are settling into your seat, more connected to the earth, more grounded. Imagine a plant such as a tree or flower - rooted and at the same time growing tall and extending to the sun. Do for as long as you like!
5) Breathe: Mindful breathing is THE, yes THE best way to calm yourself and get grounded! But, it takes some practice. Close your eyes. Focus on the breath. You can attend to the sound of the breath, the movement of the breath, the movement of the body as you breathe. Whatever works. Your mind will wander. It will! The goal is not to stop it from wandering 100%. The goal is to practice noticing when it wanders, catch it, and bring it back to the breath. Like a bicep curl, you are strengthening your ability to focus on one thing.
6) Chant: Sound therapy is really effective for turning on endorphins and oxytocin. If you don't know what those are, they are the hormones that make us feel a sense of ahhhhhhhh! This chant creates a rooted feeling. Pick a low note that you can hold and say, "Lang" - say it long and slow 3 or more times with a big full breath in between.
Again, you now have your practice for the week! Take time to do something or everything on this list every day. The more you practice, the more your brain and body thank you!
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