Serenity; the state of calmness, being untroubled, and peaceful.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? I need more serenity in my life, as I am sure you do too!
One way to help become more ‘serene’ of a person is to utilize the skill of grounding.
This week’s blog has a lot of commonalities as my last blog titled “Find Your Happy Place”. I think it is so important for us as human beings to be able to find a safe place, to feel relief, to detach from painful emotions, to center ourselves, and to use distraction during tough times. I love focusing on a lot of these topics because it is something we all need to utilize more often, and we all need reminders that we are worthy of being happy. Grounding is another healthy way in which to accomplish these things.
Grounding is a way to gain back control over our feelings. It’s a way to create balance between feeling nothing (numbness) or feeling too much (overwhelmed, stressed). It helps us stay in touch with the present moment and to not judge. In grounding, we stay completely neutral. For example, instead of saying ‘that carpet is red, and I hate the color of red because it reminds me of anger’, just simply notice in your mind that the carpet is red and move on, staying neutral.
I have a few favorite grounding techniques that I will share with you today. Please know there are tons more grounding technique ideas that you can research and utilize on your own, or create your own to make them special to you. There are ways in which to utilize physical grounding and mental grounding as I will explain next.
The good news is that physical grounding is really easy! For me, it is as simple as running my hands under cold water, stretching, touching objects around me, paying attention to my breathing and footsteps…Really taking the time to slow down and notice my physical self and physical surroundings. A lot of us run from one thing to the next, not even focusing on or realizing what we are currently doing. Physical grounding is a way to focus and remind yourself of your present moment and where you are at. I know some people who keep an object (rock, penny, picture) in their pocket or on a dresser, in their office, etc…They touch this object and remind themselves of staying in the present moment.
Mental grounding is where it gets more difficult because typically we are pretty hard on ourselves, and typically it is hard to let go of negative feelings we have towards ourselves or others. It is difficult to not feel overwhelmed by our busy lives. Below are two of my favorite mental grounding techniques:
#1…Look around you and find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This will help you to feel more in control of your surroundings.
#2…Four-Square Breathing. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and take 4 seconds to release through your mouth (tongue still on the roof of your mouth). Wait 4 seconds, and repeat a total of 4 times…Or more if needed! It is important to breathe from our stomachs during this exercise.
Other ways to stay mentally grounded are to play a categories game with yourself (list types of dogs, musical artists, TV shows, names of athletes, etc.). Or reading out loud, saying every word slowly to yourself. Use humor! Count to 10 or sing the alphabet (I do this when I am upset, typically before I respond to the person who has upset me). Repeat a favorite saying to yourself (such as a bible verse), or use a statement that you created (‘I am worthy of being happy, I love myself, I need to slow down today’). Make sure your statements are kind and uplifting(‘I am a great person with a good heart, I am just going through a tough time right now’). Think about your favorite things (food, music, sport, activity…). Plan out, in detail, a fun treat for yourself (having some candy, getting a massage…). Have photos of or picture in your mind people you really care about…
Also, it is important to use a lot of imagination. For example, let’s say you are trying to get away from some pain you are experiencing. Really imagine yourself, in creative detail, leaving that pain behind. Something such as riding a bike through mountains and waterfalls getting away from your pain. Sounds cheesy, but it helps!
As I mentioned in my ‘Happy Place’ blog, practice a lot to help become one step closer to a more serene self. Find which techniques work best for you, and make them unique to yourself. Repeat the techniques until they become habit, and take note of whether you are more successful at mental or physical grounding techniques. Get yourself more familiar with other grounding techniques I did not mention here, or techniques you create yourself.
Also, do not underestimate the power of silence when utilizing grounding techniques. Try spending time in silence to assist in becoming one step closer to serenity. We don’t always have to have noise around us. Silence is golden.
Choose your thoughts carefully. Keep what brings you peace, release what brings you suffering. And know that happiness is just a thought away.