3 Mindful Activities to Help Ground Yourself
As I approached a year of being quarantined during this unwavering pandemic, I couldn’t help but think of the mental, physical and spiritual journey I encountered. In the beginning, it was nice to stay home. I got to catch up on my shows. I lounged around and slept in an extra hour or two. I even had time to make myself breakfast instead of my traditional grab-and-go or no breakfast at all. (Horrible, right? Please don’t judge me. Lol) Anywho, after a while, the time seemed to slow down and each day in the house felt like torture. I was starting to become restless, the living space I shared started to feel like a box, and my anxiety slowly but surely began to build. Tie in the news, Black Lives Matter protests, and this damn face mask, to say I was spiraling out of control would be an understatement.
Before the pandemic, I was preparing for a foreign getaway for my 30th birthday and starting to grasp control over my anxiety again after a depressing year. I had already started getting into meditation, my journaling pen was on overdrive and I’ve always been an advocate for blasting a playlist to boost my mood. However, these activities seemed to not be enough so I needed to find ways to bring myself back to a state of peace.
Here are three new things I have incorporated into my life to help ground myself. Maybe they can help you or someone you know as well.
1. 5-4-3-2-1 Method
This method of grounding allows you to incorporate all of your senses to help you engage in the present moment by counting backward from 5. The order of the senses you choose is up to you. I usually focus on: 5 things I can see, 4 things I can hear, 3 things I can touch, 2 things I can smell, and 1 thing I can taste. I found this method extremely helpful in the midst of a panic attack. It made it easier to calm my breathing and recognize that I am in control of that situation. This method also works well for those who need to calm someone down having a panic attack. There have been times I needed someone to ask me to recall each sense when I wasn’t able to do it myself. Having someone else remind you of where you are is peace within itself.
2. Move Your Body
Whether you choose to lift weights, go for a walk, stretch or dance, it is important to keep blood pumping through your body. Staying active is a great way to clear your mind as it allows you to shift your focus on an activity. It can also serve as a way to help you meet your health goals. I usually go for a run when I want to clear my mind or take a meditative walk. More recently, I have been attracted to killing two birds with one stone by strengthening my muscles while clearing my mind. On days when I don’t feel like moving at all, I have to force myself to at least move my feet from my bedroom to the balcony or the front porch. Fight the urge to give up and keep your heart pumping.
3. Practice Self-kindness
Words we use when speaking to or about ourselves have the potential to make or break us. Practicing self-kindness serves as positive reinforcement and generates positive energy. Sometimes I look myself in the mirror and say:
“You got this!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.
"You’ve made it this far”
“You’re doing the best you can. Don’t give up.”
Whether you choose to look in a mirror or write down positive affirmations so you’re always able to see them, make sure you are loving yourself. Take a moment right now to admire how far you've come. Are you the same person you were last year? Are you working towards goals that others doubted? Have you made it through storms you never thought you would? Be proud of who you are. You’ve made it too far to give up now.
If you are looking to incorporate new grounding activities into your routine, I hope you are open to giving these a try. What works for someone else may not work for you, so don’t be hard on yourself if the methods above seem difficult. It took me a while to grasp the concept that my anxiety doesn’t control me, but it is me who controls my anxiety. Incorporating new activities into your lifestyle will be an adjustment, and may take a few times before knowing if it’s right for you. As long as you are taking steps to ensure your mental health is intact, you’ll be that much closer to your calmer state of mind.