Have you ever experienced the feeling of your mind drifting away, following some stray thought in your head, rather than being fully present in the moment? Your answer to this question is almost certainly going to be yes because this happens to most people on a regular basis. Finding ways to ground yourself can help you be fully aware of your environment, and to truly appreciate and gain meaning from your experiences.
So, what does ‘to ground yourself’ mean? From the Gestalt Theory view, the act of grounding oneself is done to reconnect to the present moment, and to regain a sense of stability and balance. In a sense, it is a way to reconnect ourselves to the Earth we stand on, and to ourselves in that very moment.
Here are 5 easy and simple ways to ground yourself:
- Place both feet on the floor. This is such a simple movement, yet it is extremely effective. Feeling the floor or ground beneath your feet centres you and brings you back to the here and now. Direct your attention to how your feet feel on the floor, and make sure that the rest of your body is comfortable as you do so.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths. Breathing exercises are a great way to redirect your attention to the present moment. Even though it will be difficult at first, it is important to focus on your breathing rather than any thoughts in your head. If this happens and your attention is caught by a passing thought, start off by acknowledging it. After a few moments of giving, it’s space in your consciousness, let it go. Direct your attention back to your breathing by noticing the feeling of the breath reaching all the way down to your stomach. Hold the breath there for a few seconds, and then release.
- Focus on something in your current environment. Bringing awareness to your surroundings is another way of shifting your attention to the here and now. Pick something in your environment (it can be anything!) and notice its shape, its colour, its texture, and any other characteristics that it holds.
- Notice the different sounds coming from your environment. Pay attention to that bird singing in the tree outside your kitchen window, or the sound of an aeroplane flying over your head. We tend to block out these sounds whilst going about our day; so, see what sound you can hear that you have never even noticed before.
- Zone in on what you are feeling in different parts of your body. Take the time to notice what you are feeling in your neck, in your arms, in your legs, and in all other parts of your body. Continue in this way whilst working slowly through your whole body and giving the space and time for each part to take centre stage.
It is always important to note that each person is different, and what can be stabilising and grounding to some, might feel uncomfortable to others. Take the time to reflect and explore exactly what works for you – you won’t regret it!
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Lisa Laspina is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist who is currently working with Willingness. She is reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy.
- Jackson, T. (2017, August 24). Grounding: What to Do When You Feel Unstable. TONI JACKSON Counselling & Psychotherapy for the Misunderstood. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://tonijacksoncounselling.com/2017/08/24/grounding-what-to-do-when-you-feel-unstable/
- Stern, D. N. (2010). The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life. Gestalt Review, 14(3), 322–325.