5 Easy Ways To Stay Grounded
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
By Witham Therapy Room
Our natural senses are our ways to connect our ‘selfs’ to the external world around us (our environment, the ground). Some mental health problems develop because we lose contact with the ground, and we can become disconnected from our body (dissociation). When we engage our senses, we can reconnect our ‘selfs’ with the external world and stay grounded.
Losing contact can be a major factor in anxiety, depression and self esteem issues, some feel
a sense of losing their ‘selves’ or can experience an out of body sensation. Some feel the need to self harm to feel, as they experience numbness.
Using your 5 senses: sight, touch, taste, sound and smell, can be the key to connecting.
Some of your senses may be better developed than others and other factors in the external world may interfere with the process of you trying to re-engage, but don't worry, it can take time to strengthen a lost sensory ability. Try taking a few moments on each, little and often before turning it into a regular practice.
5 Easy Ways might prevent and soothe anxiety and interrupt unhelpful negative thoughts patterns.
Take a moment to look around the environment you are in. Try engaging with what you're seeing. Start with focussing on something that particularly attracts your attention, are you drawn to a colour or texture. Now notice the shapes, tones and shadows in what you see. Think about what drew you to this, can you name it out loud?
If your present, congratulations on your 1st step - what else can you see?
Step 2, switch your attention to what you feel. You can start by noticing your feet on the floor or in your shoes, your clothes on your body or your bottom in the chair. Take a moment to see what's happening in your body as it touches. What temperatures or textures can you feel, explore the feeling in your body as you touch.
Many people like to carry a stone, shell or something soft in their pocket specifically for the purpose of calming touch when required. Some find washing their hands under a cool tap can engage them back to their selves.
Silence can be uncomfortable for some and blissful to others, take a moment now just to notice what the sounds are around you as rarely are we ever in total silence.
Now you have identified one, can you move onto another - see how many sounds you can hear, what impact they having on you?
This can be less obvious, try to smell your clothes, a flower/plant, piece of fruit or anything with an aroma and notice it's impact upon you. What memory does it evoke?
Finally what can you taste, is the air humid, dry or stale, can you taste the last thing you ate or drank?
If your finding this one tricky, you can take a piece of chocolate or something savoury to eat and fully engage with the experience. So often we eat whilst doing something else, maybe next time you have a meal, slow down and fully engage with the sense of taste and notice where the taste goes as it passes through your body - how long can you follow its journey?
When we engage all five senses we are using our natural tools that our body has evolved with. By engaging our sensory awareness, we are promoting interaction with the world we live in, and engaging in this way we allow the world around to become a source of support, inside and out of our bodies. Our bodies are present in what's happening in this moment and are grounded. If you are finding this difficult then take it slowly as for some, they may find that their sensory awareness is dulled by past trauma or other difficulties, as in the past their self dissociated with its own body. This can be a normal trauma response, a coping mechanism, just slowdown and be gentle on yourself with this experience of reconnection.
Sharon Davitt MBACP Integrative Counsellor
Witham Therapy Room