Grounding Exercises

Have you ever woken up from a dream wishing it never had to end?  Dreams like these leave us floating. They keep us in a state that is neither here nor there and a part of us always yearns to be somewhere else. Similarly, whether we dream about the future or live in the past, we are left in a constant state of “floating”. Wishing we could grow up faster, wishing we didn’t waste our time, re-living past loves, and so much more. We ache to be elsewhere and so live in a state of constant discontent. We lose ourselves in the past and/or the future, losing sight of what is in front of us, and that’s when we know it’s high time for some serious grounding. 

Grounding is the ability to come back to center and anchor ourselves in the present, popularly known as mindfulness. Popular grounding activities involve monitoring our surroundings, keeping a gratitude journal, and finding flow in our work. There are, however, so many other enriching ways through which we can find our center. Here are some of my favorites:

1) Take off your shoes and go for a walk. Stand up and take your shoes off. Take 10 deep breaths and focus your attention on the way each breath feels as it comes in and out of your body. Feel the ground beneath your feet, notice the texture of the surface and how each part of your foot firmly plants itself on the ground. You may choose to do this in the comforts of your own home or try this out by walking barefoot in the park. You’ll be surprised how enriching this whole exercise can be. Let the grass tickle your feet and feel the warmth of the pavement. 

2) Practice Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta). Ever since I first listened to the Loving Meditation tapes of Barbara Fredrickson (mother ship of Positive Psych), I have grown fond of practicing loving kindness in the little things that I do. The word Metta is best understood as non-violence and goodwill. Metta Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation is designed to develop compassion, love, and kindness for ourselves and for those around us. Personally, I have felt a stronger connection to others through this practice, and have been able to manifest things faster when grounding through Metta. 

3) Qi Gong and Yoga. Qi Gong is known as an ancient chinese health system that integrates posture, breathing and intentions. The practice can be seen as either martial, medical or spiritual, wherein it intends to cleanse, circulate, and heal our energy centers. Focused on the breath, qi gong helps unlock any forms of energy blockage that we may be experiencing and helps us come to terms with your own psycho-emotional needs. 

Yoga on the other hand is a hindu spiritual discipline. Like qi gong, it involves the breath and posture. Incorporated into yoga, however, are meditation and strengthening exercises. The slow movements help us pay closer attention to the movement of our bodies and our own reach. I sometimes like to incorporate my Loving Kindness meditation as I work myself through each pose. This makes the whole exercise so much more meaningful. 

4) Simple Stretching. Our bodies need space and time to MOVE. And simple stretching is one great way to help our blood circulate and increase our range of motion.  Feel the stretch and give your body the twist it deserves to loosen up and let everything flow better. 

5) Create art.  Something my aunt likes to do in her free time is to balance pebbles. It calms her to get creative and then she likes to share her work with me. I think it’s crafty that she just picks up a few pebbles in her garden and spends the morning strategically placing them on top of each other. I see how this simple exercise relieves and grounds her and similarly, creating any form of art is an opportunity for better grounding. Have you gotten the latest coloring book lately? Maybe it’s time to buy a sketch pad and start doodling again. You’ll be surprised how well you can do with a little creativity and lots of spare time.