No matter how we try to be conscientious of how we think and feel, there are times when anxiety and depression get the better of us. During these times, we must pause, reflect, and get back into the moment of our reality and feel at peace with where we are, and what we are doing.
Having done a lot of reading about grounding, I find it most beneficial in times of crisis, like anxiety and depression.
Try these steps:
Take a long deep breath, breathing in slowly, holding for the count of 5, then exhaling slowly. Do these 5 times, taking a 20 second break in between each breath. Every time you breathe in, think something positive, say it in your head. “Today will be a good day” or “I am worthy” whatever it is you need affirmation about.
Get back to your senses. Find one thing you can touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. Something soothing, listen to some classical music while drinking your favorite tea, anything that can get all your senses involved.
A client of mine once told me that they grab an orange, because you can taste, smell, see, and touch it. Taking the time to savor peeling it, a 30-minute distraction from whatever is putting her into anxiety or depression. This small step, a few times a day, can balance out your energies. Whatever you do, do it often enough to make a difference in your life. If you need to get back to your senses every 3 hours, then do it. If you only need it once a day, then do that.
Be in the moment. Most of our anxiety and depression comes from thinking of a bad outcome of something, or something that already had a bad outcome. If you live in the now, right now, you can’t do that.
Living in the moment is hard for people with anxiety and depression, everyone can relate to it, because we all do it. We are worried about what may happen in the future, probably won’t happen, or what did happen to us in the past. We are told to understand this isn’t going to happen, or we need to get over it, and that isn’t what we need. What we need, is to understand how to live in the moment. Be present where you are right now. Look around, take in the sights, talk to people, stay in the moment. Once you lose grasp of right now, and start to look forward or backward, then you are not in the moment. Bring yourself back by grounding, then living in the right now.
Being mindful of the moment, staying in your “right now” and grounding yourself in times you feel stressed, anxious, depressed, or worried will help, but what if you just can’t shake it? What if, day after stressful day you do all three of these steps and still find yourself in the same situation, feeling the same way, and feel like this isn’t working? You must feel like you are failing, but you shouldn’t. Failure is failing to try, if you are trying, then you are not failing.
We’ve all read that anything you do for over a certain amount of time becomes a habit. If it took you years to realize you were in the midst of depression, you are not going to get through that in a matter of two weeks, it is going to take you longer than that, you’ll have to work through more things than just grounding, it will be about changing daily activities, changing your mindset through mediation or some other means, and working through that mindset. It is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Some days you’ll do better than others, and some days you won’t. That is the way it is.
A client recently told me her story with anxiety “It came on like a lion, just completely took me over. I couldn’t go to the gym anymore, the store, nothing. I was worried it was going to impact my job and my kids.” We discussed grounding and living in the moment, which worked with some things, not everything. Finally, meditation worked, just enough to get her back into herself, keep her grounded, and now before she goes anywhere or does anything, she stops, sits in a quiet place, and meditates about it for at least 10 minutes.
With everything in life, we must find what works for us, whether it is quitting that stressful job, grounding, meditation, or just taking long walks every night to clear you head, you must find what works for you. Find it, and don’t ever let depression or anxiety get the best of you, this is your life, take it back from them.
Mindfulness is not about calming the Mind or being positive. Mindfulness is about being pro-active with your mind. The thoughts and ideas in the mind can be trained with simple daily exercises to improve your well being.
What automatic behaviors are you looking to change? Do you behave first then wonder why? If you are willing to open your mind and be aware of what is happening you will get your life where you want. Consider that in order to change your life, how you want it, mindfulness exercises will challenge you to change. Your perspective may change, your attitude and even the way you feel about things.
1. Be an Observer. Watching your thoughts, your emotions, your body sensations and your intuition is a practice in and of itself. You are not your body or emotions. You are the consciousness that interacts with them. It may feel like you are taking a step backwards into a position of observation. From this position you can be more aware of what is happening rather than reacting without awareness. This step backwards is all you have to remember. The observation is often automatic.
The mind or emotions may be the loudest and the busiest. Let them be. Just watch them. And when you are tired or satisfied with practicing being in the observer position choose what you’d like to do about what you’ve observed.
2. Awareness is a practice. There are varying amounts that you can have. It can start with the breath or an action, like eating or walking. Awareness can be a creative practice. Try exploring all of your senses. Look around, notice colors, shapes and what interests you. Smell the air around you. Feel the temperature on your skin, the ground beneath you, the objects you are wearing. Listen for sounds near and far. Notice what interests you and what bother you, if any.
3. Acceptance does not mean you like it. It doesn’t mean that you condone, agree, or think that it’s morally or ethically right. Acceptance means that you it accept the existence of what you are aware of. YES, THERE IT IS. Whatever the thought or experience you are having the exercise is the same.
After you become aware of something try asking yourself: Am I och with this? You’re answer can be NO so be honest with yourself. If it is NO then ask yourself again: Am I OK that I’m NOT OK? Each time you ask the question it’s like you are taking a step backward. Keep asking the question until you get a YES. You may tire of asking, you may wonder how many steps you have to take backwards. Take them until you feel to not practice this exercise anymore. Be present with your inner conflict and try being an Observer until you stop fighting then revisit Acceptance.
Mindfulness takes effort, it is work. You are retraining the way you operate and giving your consciousness a more fulfilling experience. The fulfillment achieved is the award and the benefits of the self-care, clearer choices, honesty and peace are a short list of the bonuses. Like most things practice makes perfect, practice makes things easier. We all want things to be easier. With the practice of mindfulness and these new, more loving exercises you may just surprise yourself with how quickly you do them without thinking about it.
Blessings from your Life Coach, Emily
261 E 4500 S, Murray, Utah 84107, United States
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