Grounding Exercises for Improving Consciousness

on October 15, 2018 by Evolutions
grounding-morning-coffee

At the end of a day, have you ever plopped yourself onto your bed wondering where the day went? It’s not an over exaggeration to say that the entire day was just a big fog. You close your eyes and promise yourself that tomorrow (or every day from now on) will be different. The next morning, you forget the promise as quickly as you made it and get pulled into mindless fog, going from task to task, giving in to the modern-day cycle of life.

This may be the new normal. However, being normal is not always the best way to live. There are countless examples throughout history where activities or states of being that were once considered normal were stamped out or phased out due to people evolving, revolting or adapting with the changing times.

Reconnect with Reality

Mindless living is when we live being disconnected from what’s real, our true selves. Grounding yourself means to reconnect with reality, and the most effective way is to be aware of your body. Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick, like taking three deep breaths, or longer, more formal exercises, like meditation or yoga.

We all have many moments throughout the day when we are distracted, out of touch with our bodies and stuck in our heads with a type of mental dialog that quickly evolves into ‘mental diarrhea’. Dealing with family in the mornings, driving, navigating the workday at the office, at the gym, or any other time of day, we can be distracted or overwhelmed by bad memories, worries of the future, stories, drama etc.

Grounding Exercises

The following simple grounding exercises are about using our senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch – to reconnect our mind and body in the present. It is our basic human senses that remind us we are here now, and we are safe.

  • When getting dressed in the mornings, make the effort to feel the clothes on your body, whether your arms and legs are covered or not, and the sensation of your clothes as you put them on.
  • Hold a mug of coffee or tea in both hands and feel its warmth. Don’t rush drinking it; take small sips, making sure you actually taste the beverage.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. Focus on how it looks, feels, and smells. Once the food is in in your mouth, be mindful of the taste, the texture, and temperature Take your time to chew it fully (an important step in digestion) noticing how it feels to swallow.
  • When going outside, notice the temperature of the air and how different or similar it is to where you were. Is there a breeze or is it still? Are there any scents?
  • Take ten slow, purposeful breaths. Focus on your diaphragm to ensure that the breathing is from deep within your body. Focus your attention fully on each breath, on the way in and on the way out. To help you remain focused, count and say the number of the breath to yourself as you exhale.
  • Stamp your feet. Notice the sensation and vibration traveling from the bottom of your foot, up through your leg and hips. Pay attention to the sound as it contacts the ground. Take time to massage your feet, manipulate your toes, mobilize your ankles, twist your forefoot, pound your arches to stimulate your feet.
  • Clap your hands together. Hear the noise. Rub your hands and feel the sensation. Work with some hand gymnastics, stretching your fingers out, crossing your fingers over each other which is especially helpful in our typing/texting world.
  • When sitting, feel the chair or couch under you and the weight of your body and legs pressing down. Lift your spine up from the support you feel underneath of you.
  • Listen to instrumental music, like classical, jazz or a movie score. Give it all of your attention.
  • Try taking on gardening as a hobby. Tending to the soil can be the most literal expression of “grounding.” The earth symbolizes stability, firmness, support and sustenance.
  • If you have a pet, spend some time with them. Notice what is special and different about them: chances are, you’ll see how they’re naturally always in the present moment.

grounding-exercise-yoga-class

Some of these exercises might feel childish or insignificant, but remember how mindfulness seemed to come so effortlessly when you were a child? Children live in the present; that’s why it takes so little to make them happy.

Even though these exercises seem ridiculously simple, remembering to do them isn’t easy. Be patient with yourself and give yourself credit for even attempting to improve your day to day living. By getting into the habit of grounding yourself, you’re well on your way to mindful living.

This post was part of our Monthly Intentions program throughout the year. Each month at Evolutions we focus on one intention to guide our practice, our wellness and our attention – inside and outside the club. Join us on this journey through Facebook and Instagram @EvolutionsAnnapolis #monthlyintentions #evolutionsannapolis.

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