With the new year very much underway, this can be a time that we can experience overwhelm and anxiety, as we feel the jolt of our daily life routine, against the relaxed mode of the summer holidays just past.
If we stop for a moment and think about how we experience overwhelm or anxiety, often we may think of:
- run-away thoughts
- struggling to focus
- difficulty in decision making
- failing to connect with other in relationship
- black & white thinking
- a sense of there being 'no way out'
A common element in all of these experiences, is a failure to be in the present moment.
This short post is designed to give you the basic elements of grounding, as a first step to coming into present moment awareness.
Preparation - Invite the body to find Comfort
Take a moment now to find a comfortable position. You may choose to do this standing, sitting or lying down. Whatever your position, invite your body to be at ease.
This is a time for you.
1) Connect with your Physical Body
Take some time to connect with your physical body. You can do this in a myriad ways As an example ...
- Gently bring your palms together and really notice the experience of one palm in contact with the other. As you rub your palms together, feeling the texture and the warmth of your palms, the lengths of your fingers, the strength of your hands ... all the while noticing the experience of your hands holding one another.
- Then extend this awareness, by taking your palms and running them gently over the entirety of your body. Feeling the sensation of head in contact with your hands and your palms in contact with your head. Continue this exercise as you run your palms down your neck, along your shoulders, down your arms, across your chest ... and so on ... until your palms are now caressing your feet.
- Having done this, stop for a moment and bring awareness to your whole physical body.
2) Connect with your Environment
With all of your senses invite the whole physical body to come into relationship with all that you are experiencing in your environment - sight, smell, touch, sound. As an example ...
- Feeling the temperature of the air, noticing the quality of the light as it falls on your skin.
- Looking around you and noticing the ceiling, the walls, the windows, the floor, as you are held in this space in time.
- Inviting the body to feel the support of the earth beneath you, the sky above you and gravity holding you here gently on earth.
- Run your palms over the textures of all that you are surrounded by, allowing your body to feel the physical support of your whole environment.
3) Connect with Community
Thinking about all the people in your life - past, present and future - that care about you
- Feel the sensation of their support within you / throughout your entire body
- For a moment allow their presence in your life to touch you
4) Connect with Experience
As it feels comfortable...
- Notice the quality of your breath moving through your body
- And any experiences that might be arising for you, whatever they are
- Give permission for them to be there in their own right way
5) Be with Your Whole Experience
- Bringing all of these previous 4 elements together, feel the support of your - physical body, environment, community and experience - and feel the WHOLE of your being.
- Bring your palms together and gently place them over the eyes.
- As you lower the palms, allow your eyes to readjust to the light as they take in the surroundings
- Feel your feet on the floor
- Take a drink of water
- And reorient yourself to this time and place
- Thank your body for engaging in this way
Practice this at quiet times in your day, free of distractions or disruptions and simply notice what unfolds.
If you are struggling with overwhelm or anxiety perhaps consider talking to someone. Early intervention is always the best intervention.
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(Trained as a whole-body focussing oriented therapist, Sarah Sacks is an experienced counsellor, who specialises in working in supporting people through periods of transition.)