With everything going on in the world these days, it’s become even more challenging to remain mentally and emotionally grounded. Lately, it feels like I’ve tried everything to keep my head above water and stay sane and some days it seems like nothing works.
However, through some extensive research, I’ve come to the realization that remaining grounded might not be as challenging as we once thought.
With the help of my personal experience (and a few therapeutic professionals), I’ve settled on five solid tips on how to stay grounded in life. So if you’re anything like me, struggling to stay grounded in a chaotic and careless world, I believe you’ve come to the right place.
What does it mean to stay grounded?
To be grounded implies a sense of stability and sensibility in all things, but most importantly in our thoughts and emotions. Westerners might describe a grounded person as being “down to earth” and eastern philosophies frequently use the practice of mindfulness to achieve this state, but what does it all really mean?
In my experience, being grounded requires us to be:
- peacefully present in the moment.
- fully aware of ourselves.
- not easily swayed by external (or internal) stressors.
However, while the experience of staying grounded sounds pretty straightforward, it is not always easily achieved, at least not without the right tools.
Life often tends to obstruct our ability to stay grounded, mindful, and present. Stressors can include our jobs, friends, families, and sometimes even our own thoughts can get in the way of attaining peace of mind.
Why is it important to stay grounded?
So you might be asking, what’s the point? If you’ve grown accustomed to living a chaotic life and the goal of groundedness seems unattainable, you might not be completely sold on the idea of it.
According to experts at the American Psychological Association, being grounded (or mindful) can lead to improvements such as:
- Reduced rumination.
- Stress reduction.
- Memory boosts.
- Increased focus.
- Less emotional reactivity.
- Cognitive flexibility.
- Relationship satisfaction.
The ability to remain calm and stay grounded in stressful situations has numerous benefits as you can see. However, to fully understand the difference this practice can make in your life, I suggest you try it for yourself.
5 tips to stay grounded
For your convenience, I’ve included a few practical steps you can put into action today to stay grounded in the midst of adversity. Getting started is often the hardest part, so if you can focus your energy on just one area for change you will be off to a great start in your goal of grounded living.
1. Live in the present
Instead of ruminating on past mistakes or obsessing over future circumstances, try your best to remain aware and present in your current situation. For those of us who struggle with anxiety or depression, staying present is an even bigger feat. However, this makes it all the more worthwhile to pursue.
Even simply taking five minutes of your day to recognize who you are, where you are, what you see, etc. can make a huge difference in your mental health and well-being. Some experts recommend this specific grounding technique which encompasses all five of the senses. At any given moment of panic, you are suggested to think of:
- 5 things you can see.
- 4 things you can touch.
- 3 things you can hear.
- 2 things you can smell.
- 1 thing you can taste.
You might not make it through all five every time, and that’s okay. But even taking the time to recognize the color of the sky, the soft fabric of your shirt, or the dull lingering of wind chimes in the distance can bring you back to reality and ground you emotionally and mentally.
If you want more tips on how to be mindful and present, here is an entire article dedicated to the topic.
Meditating can take many forms depending on who you are and your specific value system, so it’s best to approach this practice with an open mind.
For some, meditating looks more like prayer. For others meditating might include taking a few moments every morning to center yourself and focus on manifesting peace and happiness.
Additionally, some people choose to practice yoga as a form of meditation as well.
Either way, choosing to intentionally set aside time in your day away from the hustle and bustle of life is a meditative practice that’s proven to keep you grounded.
If you want to implement this straight away, here’s an article that will help you get started on meditation!
Has someone ever told you to take a deep breath when you were feeling stressed? That’s likely because the power of our breathing can impact not just our physical condition, but our mental and emotional conditions also.
Breathwork is defined as intentionally changing your breathing pattern, but realistically it is so much more than that. There are numerous established breathing techniques to help you stay grounded, some of which have been practiced for centuries. However, my personal favorite is called 4-7-8 breathing.
You can find an extensive guide here, but essentially 4-7-8 breathing involves:
- Inhaling for four seconds.
- Holding for seven seconds.
- Exhaling for eight seconds.
Experts suggest you complete this breathing cycle four times twice per day, noting that it is especially helpful to calm anxiety before bed.
4. Physical movement
I’ve already acknowledged the use of yoga and its relation to meditating, but yoga is not the only form of physical movement that can assist you in staying grounded.
Other grounding techniques involving movement include but are not limited to:
- Walking (which is more effective than you might think!)
- Weight training.
Medical professionals have been monitoring the effects exercise has on the brain for many years, so there is undeniable proof regarding the benefits of physical movement and your mental health.
Movement can be particularly helpful for individuals who suffer from anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. However, I believe we could all benefit from physical activity in some way if we are intentionally choosing to live a more grounded life.
As you might have noticed, a common theme among many of these examples of physical movement is the potential for outdoor activities which leads me to my final tip.
5. Spending time in nature
Anyone who’s been camping or visited one of the famous national forests can attest to the therapeutic qualities of the great outdoors. There is something so remarkable about feeling the fresh air on your face or smelling crisp pine trees in the winter.
For those even more committed to the healing powers of nature to ground them, there is a specialized technique appropriately called grounding in which participants are “electrically reconnecting” to the earth. Research is still being done to determine the effectiveness of this practice.
I believe choosing to live a more mindful, grounded life is worth the extra work. Not only are there physical benefits, but there are mental and emotional advantages as well. Take that extra step, that extra breath, or those extra five minutes in the morning to manifest happiness. You never know how helpful it might be.
What do you do to stay grounded in life? Are you using one of these tips, or do you have another way to stay grounded during stressful times? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!