One of the most frequently asked questions by clients is “How can I stay grounded when there is so much happening in our world?” Our accessibility to news, the current political climate, changing weather patterns, ongoing violence, natural disasters, Hollywood crime, pandemic health concerns, a fluctuating stock market and more can leave us feeling unsettled and lacking the solid hold we wished we had on life. Unless we actively work on staying grounded, we will undoubtedly remain unsettled and unable to comfortably manage day-to-day concerns.
The essence of who we are and our body tells us when we are in overwhelm and misaligns us by creating a sensation of stress, anxiety, depression or another mental health concern. As a modern society, we are still taught that these are “bad” reactions to unsettling events, but in reality, these are messages from our higher self that something needs attention—something needs to be grounded in order for us to lift our spirits and thrive.
Getting grounded is the ability to be aware of the present moment, more mindful of your own mental and emotional self, and less influenced by other ideas or individuals.. Nothing outside of you can fully ground you, it must come from within. No job, significant other, child, hobby, alcohol or anything else external to us can realign our lives.
There may always be something going on in the world or our lives, so taking the time to get grounded is important. Following are several tips to help you stay grounded even when the world around you seems unsettled.
Breathe! The simple act of focusing on your breath can not only slow it down, it can send signals to the brain to help you relax. Try this: Take a slow, deep breath in as you count to four, pause the breath for a count of four, then release slowly while counting backwards from six to zero. Repeat this as many times as you need.
Focus on the present. Research indicates that only 10% of us think about the present, while nearly 40% percent worry about the past and approximately 50% worry about the future. By practicing presence, we can more realistically assess our situation at hand and respond to events rather than react to them.
Using discernment with new and social media. Social media and the internet has created an urgency to receive information as fast as we can, but it doesn’t always fact check what is real. In most cases, the details are only peripherally helpful in building the big picture, but they are often immensely draining if over-indulged. I understand about wanting to stay informed, use discernment and take breaks from social media and the news.
Get Outside. Spending time in nature can be calming and grounding. Taking a walk, sitting outside, cleaning out a garden can help you feel more grounded and balanced.
Do something that feeds your soul. I encourage my clients to find what brings them joy and also to intentionally set time aside to participate. All work and no play really does take a toll on our health. In many ways, we have come to value exhaustion over joy. Because modern living has disconnected us from our own self we have also forgotten that its most natural state is that of joy, itself!
When was the last time you did something fun, creative, or enjoyable just for the sake of doing it? There are many things to learn from those unsettled thoughts and feelings. Our health depends on our willingness and ability to become conscious of what we need in order to thrive. See what you can discover.
Have you ever questioned "where is my joy?" I believe we all have at some point. At times our joy can feel overshadowed by every day challenges, emotions, and experiences. Yet even then, joy can still be felt. There is space for all of it. During my own experiences of challenging times and heartbreak, I also experienced joy. Whether that may be a walk in nature, time with my dog or a good friend.
If you are needing some ideas to get started, here are a few suggestions for you to experience joy in your own life. You may also want to create your own list or add to this one:
1) Make yourself a priority. You deserve your own time and attention. There are 1440 minutes in a day; make yourself a priority and use some of those minutes for you. Whether that is getting in a yoga class, running a bubble bath, or reading a book. Do what makes your heart sing.
2) Try something new. Maybe it is a new coffee flavor or a new meal? Or an art museum or a new sport? Trying something new adds a little adventure into every day life. Sometimes that may feel a little scary at first. However on the other side of fear, you may discover complete JOY!
3) Move your body. Movement can wake us up and provide a boost of energy when we are feeling lethargic. Maybe that is going for a walk, having a dance party in the kitchen to your favorite music, doing some yoga or stretching. Make it fun for yourself. When we start moving and boost our energy, it's an opening to feel joy.
4) Affirm yourself. How many times have you started a sentence with, “I am ... ?” What comes after the "I am" is super important. A suggestion is to write down: “I AM... Strong. Worthy. Beautiful. Loving. ” or any other statements that resonate. Every morning, read them to yourself or out loud. In 30 days you may notice a big shift in how you are feeling.
5) Go into nature. Research shows that being outdoors for only 5 minutes a day can improve your mood, raise your self-esteem, and reduce trauma symptoms. Go outside. Touch the earth. Breathe in the smells. Notice the sounds you hear. Notice what's around you. Connect with the beauty that surrounds you.
6) Nurture Relationships. That may be calling a friend, meeting someone you care about for lunch or coffee. Share what's going on in your life and connect. Laugh out loud, as laugher is so therapeutic. Let yourself be silly too. It's ok to be an adult and play too!
7) Invest in you. Joy comes from within - no doubt. And the greatest way to create more joy is through healing, growth, and exploration of self. Feed your soul by reading a good book, take that class you are interested in, go on that adventure you seek. The more joy we create from within, the more joy we create in our life.
Feel free to share below ways you experience joy in your life, I would love to hear it you
Licensed counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.