“But it turns out that people who are grounded and secure don’t change much under stress. That’s what being grounded means.” ~Michael Gruber
Feeling out of sorts, off-kilter, irritable, mentally and emotionally depleted can be signs that you’re not grounded. Although it’s normal to feel this way at times, when you do, you can work to stay grounded, rather than accept it as a way of being.
First, what does it mean to feel grounded? According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it means that we are “mentally and emotionally stable: admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious.” So, when we feel grounded, we are composed, comfortable in our own skin and not easily influenced by people or ideas. But to stay grounded can be difficult with all that’s happening in the world. Many of us thought that the COVID-19 pandemic would be behind us as we headed into 2022. Political divisiveness, high crime rate, and inflation are certainly leaving us with feelings of uncertainty and even fear about the future. So how can we get back to ourselves in spite of what’s happening around us? Here are some ways:
1. Be in the Moment
Does your mind race as you dwell in the past or think about what’s to come? To be present, can feel unnatural. But as we teach ourselves to do so, we reduce stress and cope better with negative emotions.
One way to become more mindful is to focus on a task. Let’s say you are showering. You can think about how the warm water feels on your body. Notice the lovely smell of the soap. Listen to the drops hitting the side of the shower and taste the water in your mouth. Engage all your senses in the activity. You’ll notice that no other thoughts will be present; you’re savoring the moment.
2. Focus on a Creative Project
Do you have a project or hobby you enjoy? Perhaps it’s writing, drawing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. Or, you may love putting together jigsaw puzzles, gardening, or cooking. If you enjoy something enough, you can become engrossed in the activity. When you do, the world seems to disappear, as you feel calmer and more centered.
The more we do what we love, unleash our creativity, the sweeter life becomes, the more authentic we are, and the more grounded we will feel.
3. Cultivate a Sense of Purpose
Feeling a sense of purpose gives our lives meaning and joy. But what if you feel you don’t have a purpose? You do if you look hard enough. You can see that purpose can come from being a sibling, parent, or partner in caring for other people. You can have a sense of purpose from a creative hobby or your job. Your purpose doesn’t have to be monumental, although it can be, but something that gets you out of bed, feeling good about life.
When you are alive, with purpose, you’re on a quest to make a difference in your own unique way. If you are truly committed to this quest, outside influences will not shake you. You keep going, overcoming each obstacle, because you are motivated and inspired by a thing that is greater than you are.
4. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude has the power to increase our happiness by 25%, according to research. The benefits of feeling grateful are enormous, from mental to physical health. With a shift in mindset from the negative to the positive, as gratitude gives you, your spirit lifts. You become better able to tackle life. Even in tough times, you can look for the good in your life circumstances. Maybe you can’t do this right away such as after a job loss, but, in time, you can find some good in your experience.
Ways to practice gratitude include writing a gratitude letter, keeping a gratitude journal, and thanking people for their services like cab drivers, wait staff, military personnel, and police officers. With practice, feeling grateful will come more naturally to you.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
Physically and mentally taking care of ourselves is a way to stay grounded. You’ll feel better and more confident as you eat healthier, exercise, and take time for relaxation. The pursuit of self-care helps keep you feeling more stable, emotionally and physically. However, since you may be pulled in many different directions, you’ll need to prioritize caring for yourself. But, when you do, you’ll feel stronger to meet the challenges of the day.
6. Take a Break from Media
You may think it’s impossible to not look at your social media accounts, or watch the news for a day, week, or even a month. But, you can use a break from media at times. Although it’s important to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world, it can also put a cloud of negativity over your head. So try disconnecting from media for a time, even for just one day, and see how you feel. You may even decide to make this a regular habit to calm your mind.
7. Connect with Family and Friends
Feelings of isolation and loneliness can have you feeling ungrounded because you need human connection to thrive in life. But connecting with loved ones is extra challenging these days with the pandemic. Luckily, we can meet up with our family and friends via video chat, or on the phone. You’ll feel more balanced when you regularly keep in touch with the people who are important to you. They provide encouragement, support, and love when you are feeling low. They bring joy to your life.
8. Relax in Nature
“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright,” said writer Henry David Thoreau. He eloquently captured the impact that nature can have on us; it can “direct us aright.” But with the advent of computers, we seem to spend a lot of time indoors. That’s why getting outside is a rewarding effort. You breathe the crisp mountain air, feel the warm sand beneath your feet, swim in the vast ocean, and hear all the beautiful sounds like trees swishing in the wind. So much to enjoy in nature, and it’s free!
So take time to get outside, even if you live in a city. You’ll feel more connected to your environment, which naturally grounds you.
9. Breathe Deeply
Shallow breathing can be common, especially if you have anxiety. Over time, it can cause you to feel less calm, contributing to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue and other physical and emotional troubles, according to VeryWell Mind. So it’s important to focus on your breath to keep you stable and strong.
Dr. Andrew Weil has three different breathing exercises to invigorate and calm you. One of them, called the 4-7-8 breathing technique, can help you gain control of your breathing. Find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight, and then:
- Place your tongue against the back of your top teeth and exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Purse your lips, if it is more comfortable.
- Inhale through your nose for a count of four, and then hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for a count of eight.
Repeat this cycle at least three more times.
10. Cite Affirmations
Saying affirmations on a daily basis can help you stay grounded because you are giving yourself encouragement. For example, if you are feeling a lack of confidence in how to handle a certain area in your life, you can recite an affirmation like, “I am stronger, wiser, and more confident with each new day.” With practice, you literally talk yourself into feeling more confident with the steady, positive reinforcement. You can stay grounded in your own positive self-talk, which helps reset you, creating balance and mental strength. Be sure to place your affirmations around the house and in your workspace to help keep them top of mind.
Staying grounded can seem difficult with all that’s happening in the world. But, when outside influences cause us to feel off-balance, not ourselves, or uneasy, we can use these tools above to set ourselves right.
What way above will you choose to help you stay grounded? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.