To be honest, 2020 has been a lot. Have you found yourself more stressed out? Looking for grounding techniques to stay in the present moment and not freak out about the future? You’re not alone.
These tips are definitely useful when you feel flooded or overwhelmed, but they’re also great to practice even when you’re feeling calm already.
Focusing on our breath is one of the easiest ways to bring ourselves back into the present moment.
There are heaps of different techniques to try. The simplest is take in a slow deep breath for 5 counts and then exhale for 5 counts.
As you might already know from your workouts, especially heavy lifting, boxing or yoga, monitoring your breath improves what your body can do. There’s a reason you’ve probably heard a fitness instructor repeat, “in through the nose, out through the mouth”.
Paced breathing focuses attention and regulates the nervous system. It helps you to concentrate and ensures you’re getting plenty of oxygen.
So remember to just breathe through it.
Mindfulness is the mental state of being conscious and aware. You tune in to the present while removing judgement, anxiety or negative thoughts.
There are many methods to practising mindfulness. A good one to remember is the 5,4,3,2,1 method for when your mind is bouncing around to a million different thoughts. Here’s what you do:
5: Count 5 things you can see around you. It could be a lamp, tree, car, anything.
4: Find 4 things you can touch around you. It might be your shoe, a mug, the floor.
3: Notice 3 things you can hear. Focus on what you can hear outside your body.
2: Acknowledge 2 things you can smell. Is there food near you? The smell of paper in a printer? Feel free to walk around to find a scent — try the soap in the bathroom.
1: Think of 1 thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like? It might be coffee, toothpaste or food.
After completing the 5 stages, you’ll definitely be more mindful of the present moment and your surroundings.
You can also try finding calm by savouring a food or drink. Take small bites or sips of something you love and let yourself fully taste and enjoy each bit. Think about the flavour profiles and how it feels against your tongue
Lastly, use your sense of touch and run your hands under cold water or squeeze something tight for a release. There’s a reason stress balls exist.
Sometimes you just have too much energy to be still and think. So get moving instead!
Exercising or stretching is a great way to pay attention to how your body feels and moves.
How does the floor feel against your body?
Where are there niggles and tightness?
If you go skipping, try counting your skips or listening to the sound of the rope.
If you go for a walk, pay close attention to the pace and rhythm of your steps.
Moving your body is known to be awesome for the mind. So ground yourself in your body’s movements and take pleasure in the stress release of exercise.
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