Grounding

In her awesome newsletter Beth, from Little Red Tarot, asked her subscribers what grounding means to them.  As she explains, we hear a lot about grounding and how we need to do more of it and isn’t grounding awesome.  But what does that mean?  What does it look like?

 

I thought it was a really interesting question and the vertigo continues so perhaps pondering grounding will help with the head spinning dizziness…?

Grounding to me feels like a way of coming back to yourself, to the moment, to the time and place you are in.  But what does the dictionary have to say?

  • Grounds: the foundation or basis on which a belief or action rests; reason or cause
  • To ground: to lay or set on the ground.
  • To ground: to place on a foundation; fix firmly.
  • To ground: to instruct in elements or first principles. (to ground a students knowledge)
  • Grounding: the act of connecting a conductor, or exposed conductive parts of an installation, to the earth. (as used in electricity)

There were lots of other options but these felt most fitting for my idea of grounding.  For me, there is an essence of returning to basics, of going back to the foundation or reestablishing a foundation.  There is also something about the electrical definition of grounding that I find resonates very strongly with my concept of it.  A sort of way of channelling something, for example anxiety, through my body and into the earth.

Grounding is a way of me reconnecting with the earth and feeling secure and supported and held and nourished.  It is a way of going back to the core of my being and renewing myself in some way.  Grounding may help me feel more energetic, it may help me feel calmer, it may help me feel more connected, it may help me feel more stable.  If my head is all over the place, grounding helps me feel stronger, more focused and clearer.

I also do a lot of work around grounding myself in time.  As regular readers will know I have a chronic illness and have had to retire which leaves me with a very different routine and a very different sense of time.  It also means that some of the ways other people use to ground themselves won’t be applicable for me.  Generally I need things to be quick as I get uncomfortable and have brain fog and am easily distracted.  They can’t involve much movement or planning and generally not very tool based.

So let’s have a look at what I do do.  I use a variety of techniques to ground myself in time:

  • Saying out loud “I am Helen <middle name and surname>.  It is <time> on <date including year> and I am in <town>.”  My mental health support team said this would a useful way of bringing yourself back if you have flashbacks.
  • Rituals around the moon phases help tie me to the passing months and rituals around the wheel of the year help tie me to changing seasons.  This will look different for different people but an important aspect for me is nature as this really helps me to see where we are in the year.  For wheel of the year points, I am currently taking a photograph of the same tree and seeing how it changes and this is tuning me in with nature.
  • In an ideal world I would eat a lot more seasonally that I do right now, again this is connecting me to where we are in the year.

For grounding myself in the moment, and by extension in place:

  • Really simple five senses inventory; what can I see, smell, hear, taste, touch.  Preferably spoken out loud,
  • Getting my bare feet on the ground (harder than it sounds for me!).
  • Three deep breaths.
  • Visualising the ground supporting me or visualising being a tree and feeling the strength that they get from the physical ground.  I like to include the earth in grounding visualisations as I’m sure many people do.
  • Drawing a tarot card and using that as a focus point.  I do this with flames as well as crystals and for me it’s the act of getting out of my head and focusing on one small thing that I find grounding.

Grounding also draws a line under something.  So if I have a horrible meeting or have had to deal with someone I find challenging, grounding helps me mark the line between that and now.  It doesn’t get rid of crap feelings about the thing but it acts as a reminder that I am no longer in that situation.  Sort of how some people use the journey home from work to transition between work and home mode.

I also find I need to ground myself in my physical body.  I have a history of disassociating and part of my physical health condition leaves me feeling a bit unsure where my limbs are.  It’s hard to explain but if you’re really interested, look up poor proprioception.  I often describe is as not being able to feel my edges.  I don’t have a good sense of where my body ends and the world starts which triggers my anxiety which just makes the feeling worse.  Sometimes my edges are clearer, sometimes they feel almost non existent.  It is at these times that grounding myself in my physical body is important.  I will do a lot of the above – not feeling in your body makes it hard to feel where you are in time and space as well.  I will also physical feel my edges with my hands if I can.  Applying pressure to my skin helps and this could be blankets or teddies.  I visualise myself wrapping bandages around my entire body, bit by bit.

What does grounding mean to you?  How do you ground yourself?  Sign up to Beth’s newsletter to hear a round up of what her readers think!

Edited to add the link to Beth’s post on grounding

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