Try these techniques to give yourself the gift of the present moment.
Posted in , Aug 12, 2020
We live in a time that celebrates multitasking—and also in a time when the coronavirus pandemic gives us room and reasons to ruminate on the past or worry about the future. Put those things together, and it’s not surprising that many of us are struggling to feel grounded—fully present in our bodies, in the current moment and ready to respond to what our day brings with grace and peace.
Therapists who work with trauma survivors as well as those who struggle with anxiety recommend “grounding” exercises. These techniques offer a way to reconnect with the here and now, hold the past and the future in their proper places and find solace in the ground that holds us steady.
Here are three exercises that might help you ground yourself today:
1) Breathe Yourself Down to Earth
A simple breathing exercise can help you direct your attention to what you might think you already know—that your feet are firmly on the ground. Stand up straight with your feet hips’ width apart. As you inhale, bring your hands slowly upward until they rest on your shoulders.
Now exhale slowly, and as you do, slowly lower your arms to your sides and visualize your body as completely held by your strong feet, ankles and lower legs. Feel the earth holding your whole self. Repeat for at least 10 breaths and notice how solidly grounded you feel.
2) Count Down to Ground
A classic grounding technique that invokes all your senses is called “5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” Wherever you are, take a couple of slow deep breaths. Then notice five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
The simple process of focusing on small, specific things in your environment helps you feel present and connected. Sarah Shallen, a UK-based psychotherapist, says you can move around to find something to taste. Whatever you choose (she recommends chocolate!), “take a small bite and let it swill around your mouth for a couple of seconds, really savoring the flavor.”
3) Find Your Feet
Our feet represent so much—they help us move through our days, and they cease work when we’re at rest. Focusing on our feet can help us ground ourselves in the present moment.
Shallen recommends choosing a favorite color and, in your imagination, slowly tracing feet and toes in that color, as if you were doing a school craft project.
An even faster way to connect with your feet is to wiggle your toes inside your shoes or socks, paying attention to the sensation of each toe. “Grounding helps you get out of your brain and bring your focus to your body,” says Shallen.
How do you ground and calm yourself?