It’s really useful to have a couple of simple grounding exercises under your belt, for when things get a bit stressful. You can achieve this by focusing on your physical body and surroundings, using your senses. Here are a few exercises to try.
1. Describe 5 things you see in the room.
2. Name 4 things you can feel (“my feet on the floor” or “the air in my nose”)
3. Name 3 things you hear right now (“traffic outside”)
4. Name 2 things you can smell right now (or 2 smells you like)
5. Name 1 good things about yourself
Repeat the 5 steps more than once if needed.
Place both feet flat on the floor. Lean back into your chair, and make note of the feeling of the chair under you and against your back. Cross your arms over your chest and gently tap your shoulders, alternating one side at a time. Or if you are in public, you can place your hands on your thighs tapping one leg at a time. Although not as effective as shoulder tapping, this technique can still work.
This is my favourite. Sitting upright in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor. Press weight onto your feet as if you are trying to lift the front chair legs off the ground (but stop just before they do). Hold for a few moments, then slowly release.
Make a playlist
Music has an amazing ability to change our mood. Make yourself a playlist designed to calm you down. It’s a work in progress – keep on editing the tracklist until it’s just right, and keep it on your phone.
Being mindful just means being fully present in the moment, and can be a great way to regulate your emotions, focus on the here-and-now and generally get more from life.
It’s not just about sitting and breathing – though you can do that if you want! There are lots of ways to be mindful whilst you go about your daily business – walking, washing up, brushing teeth etc. Here are a couple of sites to get you started.
Lots of meditations, body scans and movement based practices at the University of Bangor’s site here.
Be kind to yourself
Us humans are really good at criticising ourselves. Imagine if we could develop equally loud voices that speak kindly to us – this is self compassion and one of the keys to increased feelings of satisfaction and wellness.
Kirten Neff is the go-to person for all things self compassion and her website is here: Self compassion website
Tara Brach is a leading mindful meditation practitioner – here’s a link to her RAIN of self compassion meditation which is a great way to begin the journey towards self compassion.
Many more guided meditaitons at her website here.