RE-GROUNDING YOURSELF WHEN YOU FEEL SCATTERED
We’ve all had moments when life’s demands left us feeling stressed and scattered. In these moments, it’s helpful to have some simple tools to help us gain composure and come back to our centre.
Like most people I have to fit a lot of tasks into what feels like a brief period of time each day.
Sometimes, when external factors like these seem overwhelming, we feel unable to remove ourselves from the situation long enough to gain perspective and compose ourselves in order to move forward.
Very often, these external factors become internalized, and our minds start reeling. “I’ll never get it all done, my life is spiralling out of control, I can’t get myself together…” The internal loop can be loud, persistent, and ultimately paralysing. And once it begins, it is hard to stop.
So, what do you do in those moments when life must go on? What about the times you can’t defer your duties in favour of your bed?
You need to centre yourself or reground yourself.
Learning how to centre yourself is perhaps the most important skill most people never learn.
Do you start the day in a calm or reactive state?
Do you end the day feeling nourished or depleted?
How about during the middle: Are you focused or scattered?
Your answer to all these questions all relates to the Centre.
It’s an idea that may sound mystical or esoteric at first, but it’s real. And you can experience it directly in the present moment.
Clear Indicators You’re Out of Centre:
Throughout the day, you …
• Take on too many tasks. You often multitask.
• Are reactive, checking your phone compulsively.
• Fail to differentiate what is urgent from what’s important.
• Feel fatigued early in the day.
In your mental and emotional state, you …
• Are consumed by negative self-talk.
• Are easily distracted, unable to focus.
• Ruminate about the past or hold anxiety about the future.
• Get stuck, high-strung, and overwhelmed.
In the evening, you …
• End your workday depleted.
• Struggle with impulse control with sugar, social media, alcohol, snacks, TV.
• Can’t remember what you did yesterday or even today.
Thankfully, it’s easy to return to the Centre.
It takes two ingredients:
1. Awareness: the ability to detect when you’re out of Centre in the moment.
2. Method: an effective practice for centring yourself.
I stress it’s easy to centre yourself because if you think it’s difficult, it will be.
If you believe, as I once did, that it takes years of mind training to centre yourself, it will take years.
Noticing when you’re out of Centre is half the battle. Once we can say to ourselves. Hang on. I’m not quite right here then we can put action into practice.
Awareness is what helps us get into practice and I actually dive really deep into awareness in the Lead yourself Formula which is an online course I am launching in the new year if you want some more help with that.
But once your noticed it you need a method to re ground yourself.
I can tell you what I do.
First of all, if I have the time and the weather on my side, I do 1 of 2 things. A walk or an ocean swim. I know these are very dependent upon your location, weather and time but if its possible these are the things I put to the top of my list. While I’m out on the walk or just fresh out of the water, I then have a moment of stillness or breathing.
For me, the key to feeling grounded is mind-body integration. And while a swim or a big walk might be helpful toward this end, it’s hardly feasible in those everyday moments when life feels overwhelming.
For these moments, I need simple, applicable strategies to help me feel centred. I need a few specific things to get my mind back in gear that won’t actually contribute to my decaying mental state. The following is what helps me resharpen my focus. We’re all different, so be sure to take time to tailor a routine to personally suit you!
1. I declutter the area that I am in.
Taking 10 minutes to tidy up the space within your field of vision can have a profound effect on your mental state. You don’t have to grab every speck of dust, but quickly arranging your work area (or whatever space you’re in) will help shut out any unnecessary distractions.
2. I grab a glass of water
A dehydrated brain just isn’t as effective. In fact, you’re more likely to experience burnout, energy dips, and mood swings if you’ve gone too long without fluids. A cool glass of water works wonders when it’s time to refocus and get mentally organized.
3. I tap into my hearing sense
I put on some music. You may be an earthy girl, or maybe you’re an ocean girl like me. I choose to put on ocean sounds as this brings me back down to earth and gives me something else to focus on.
4. I tap into my smell sense.
I light a candle. Again, for me it always come back to the ocean smells, so I have my favourite ocean and island scented candles that I love. Maybe it’s a woody earthy scent. Maybe it’s a floral scent. In short, take a whiff of a refreshing scent to clear your head before diving back into the chaos!
5. I sit still
Once I’m in a clean space, I’m hydrated, I have my sense of smell and sound taken care of I get comfy sat down. I close my eyes. And I sit still. I take deep slow breaths.
6. I use Stop Sign Visualization.
Those negative, looping thoughts that are spiralling out of control in your mind? They don’t serve you. There’s no time to listen to them, anyway: You have very important things to do!
So, to move forward without letting your thoughts drag you down, try this: For each self-defeating thought that pops up (“I’ll never get it all done!” and so on), visualize a large, red stop sign in your mind and think, “Stop.” Try to drop the rest of the thought. This takes practice.
7. I affirm
Consider a few affirming phrases to repeat during these moments. It should be something that rings true to you and can reassure you. For example, “I can manage,” “This will pass,” “There is no emergency,” or “It will all get done.” Experiment with the right mantra for yourself and repeat it often.
8. Finally, I journal (if I feel it’s needed)
If I am still feeling overwhelmed putting pen to paper really helps me work through it. The next time you feel your anxious, stressed or scattered, set aside a few minutes of journaling time.
I’ve got 7 journal prompts for you that you might find useful:
1. Do a worry purge in the pages of your journal. Without stopping, write down everything that is churning around in your mind. Once it is out of your head, give yourself permission to leave it in your journal and come back to it later with a clearer head.
2. Finish the sentence, “Right now, I am…” Then finish the sentence, “I want to be…”
3. Write a list of the day’s accomplishments and victories, no matter how small. Celebrate each one individually.
4. Sit quietly for a few minutes, just breathing and listening to your body, before you start journaling. What is it telling you? Where do you feel strong, healthy, energetic, relaxed? Where do you feel tense, worried, uncomfortable, tired? What is asking for more attention?
5. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your inner critic. If she has been extra vocal today, take this opportunity to dismiss her opinions and tell her to hit the road. If he has been telling you all the things you are doing wrong, reply with all the things you are doing right.
6. Pick a single positive word that you want to focus on today – such as joy, gratitude, love or courage. Journal about all the ways you have experienced this word lately and all the ways you want to.
7. Choose one problem that has been causing you anxiety lately, and ask yourself questions about it, the way a close friend would. Ask supportive and encouraging questions and answer them with complete honesty. Try looking at the situation from new angles and be open to possible solutions that come up.
When you are able to centre yourself in times of distress, you will find that you work more efficiently, relate to others more easily, and feel an improvement in your physical health. Each of the above techniques can be employed anywhere and anytime, in just a minute or two.
Experiment with one or all and see what feels right for you.
Life can get hectic, but these simple tools can bring you back to centre so that you can enjoy it.