As an empath, I’ve been experiencing more and more a sense of urgency building around me. Whether the aftermath of the pandemic or a natural evolution in human consciousness, it seems to be more and more difficult to stay grounded these days.
This can show up as:
Difficulty staying on point and experiencing distraction
High levels of anxiety
A constant feeling that there is something more important I should be doing
Wondering into thoughts in the middle of a conversation
Difficulty learning new concepts and feeling overwhelmed
If you’ve been feeling unsettled or any of the ways above lately, first, you’re not alone. The amount of information we process in a day today is the amount of information a highly educated human would have processed in a lifetime 500 years ago. More than ever, it is key to have practices to ground yourself in your tool belt.
First, what does grounding yourself mean? Grounding is essentially moving from the intellect of the mind to the wisdom of the body. Think of the collective of all your thoughts at any given moment like a cloud swarming above your head. It can give you that false sense of urgency, keep you in loops of aimless thought patterns and take you away from the present moment. The practice of grounding invites you to acknowledge the cloud of the mind and to bring your awareness back down into your body. Here are 5 ways to help you ground yourself:
1. Feel your breath
Some mindfulness techniques teach meditators to feel the breath at the level of their nose, noticing the air moving in and out of their nose. Cooler coming out and warmer going out.
I like to take this practice deeper in the lower body (further from the cloud!).
Bring your awareness to the space in your lower belly, under the navel, right between the front and the back of your body, and feel your breath there.
Then move your awareness to your solar plexus, imagine the breath originating in the center of your body behind your solar plexus, and feel the breath there.
Then in the center of your chest, also called the heart center, that space right between the front and the back of your body, feel the breath there.
In each of these places, take a few breaths and notice any shift.
Whether through yoga, dancing, walking, or any other form of movement, do you have a daily practice of moving the energy in your body? If you don’t move, the energy stays stagnant, you find yourself back in the mind cloud away from the wisdom of your body. Moving doesn’t have to be an intense form of exercise, it can be very slow like Qi Gong or gentle yoga. Approach body movement in terms of energy flow versus intensity output.
Spending time in nature is powerfully grounding for the nervous system. Aside from the concept of “earthing” based on how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body, simply hearing the sounds of nature, touching a tree, observing the natural world, such as the intricacies of a leaf, a flower, or the bark of a tree bring us back to our essential nature and grounds us.
4. Slow down
If you are moving 100 miles an hour every day, it might be time to slow down. There is a misperception that if I slow down, I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the world. We’re trying to fit in so much, we end up not being fully present with what is actually right in front of us.
Slowing down, helps us feel more grounded and in the moment. Here are a few ways to slow down:
go easy on the caffeine
move, write, type, talk, walk even just 5% slower
ditch the phone for chunks of time, and practice presence. When with your kid, be with your kid. When cooking, cook.
When we are stuck in our own egoic minds, it is important to bring in practices that help us remember we are a human collective and that our lives are intrinsically connected with the lives of others. A practice that helps us reconnect to that is called Metta.
Metta is a form of meditation that revolves around the concept of loving-kindness. We start with loving kindness toward ourselves, then toward a loved one, a stranger, and we expand to include the whole world. This is one of the practices I teach in my coaching program and you can also search it online.
I hope these practices are helpful. Remember to invite one or two each day so they become part of the fabric of your being. You will start experiencing less reactivity and drama in your life. Instead, you will become the peaceful observer.