By Elizabeth Spekhardt
Before the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, most could attest that it seemed easy enough to have at least one foot in reality. The other often drifted in a world of idealisms and mindless fantasies that may not have been attainable or possible but were fun to dream about. Having a balance between reality and fantasy may have been enough for most people but quarantining in an isolated environment with communications with friends and family limited to Skype, Facetime, etc. is an entirely different story.
During the peak of the pandemic, many struggled to stay immersed in reality. This especially held true to those who worked from home, were forced to take up residency in toxic and abusive households, or mental conditions that thrive in isolated situations. In instances when we find ourselves in situations we cannot control, it is common to uproot ourselves from reality and detach from emotional or psychological functions.
This process of detachment is called ungrounding. The conditions of ungrounding are as follows:
• Difficulty concentrating
• Waking up tired and unrefreshed
• Lightheadedness, dizziness, and constantly spaced out
•Misplacing or losing things
•Sensitivity to light/noise
•Out-of-body experiences that are out of your control
•Unable to carry out a full conversation and losing track of what you were saying
Any variation of these symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable- but there are ways to work through them.
Grounding is a process that aims to reclaim the energy that has been drained from our physical and spiritual bodies. When grounding exercises are performed frequently and properly, you are more bound to achieve physical and emotional connections without feeling any sense of detachment or instability. Grounding is important for your physical and psychological health. While ungrounding may be necessary for more spiritual persons who are pursuing a connection with a higher entity, it is ALWAYS important to ground yourself afterwards. If you do not take action by grounding at least every once and awhile, it will be even more difficult to stay in verisimilitude and have healthy relationships with your friends and family.
Examples of Grounding Forms
Journaling: Performing grounding exercises through journaling is a personal favorite of mine. It is a perfect exercise for those who prefer not to engage in the more ritualistic forms of grounding.
There are different ways to approach grounding through a journal. However, it is important to keep in mind that you will need to visit your journal frequently in order to properly balance your aura (a human being’s field of energy). If you are new to journaling, start by creating a concrete routine where you can implement journal time into your daily program. After you have established a routine, begin a grounding exercise by jotting things down that are within your control or five senses (sounds, tastes, smells, sights, etc.). After you are comfortable performing this exercise every day, extend the process by performing the classic 5–4–3–2–1 grounding technique. This method is simple but effective and slowly pulls you back to earth if performed properly and frequently.
•Look for 5 things you can see
•Become aware of 4 things you can touch
•Acknowledge 3 things you can hear
•Notice 2 things you can smell
•Become aware of 1 thing you can taste
*Notice the words in the beginning of every exercise! Becoming, acknowledging, noticing, and looking are all keywords that require you to be present in reality and forces you to take notice of your surroundings. After some time, this exercise will become more and more easier for you.
Breathing: Breathing is the most simplistic method of grounding. This exercise has more short term effects but is good for moments where you need to ground or calm down quickly. There are many different breathing exercises you can utilize in order to become grounded. The simplest way is to breathe in slowly and breathe. You should be feeling your lungs fill up gradually and experience the feeling of pushing out the air. While doing breathing exercises, it can be extremely beneficial to hold an inanimate object. Doing so will allow you to feel more grounded and connected to your moment. By touching or holding something, you are providing reassurance that you remain on this earth and have the ability to control something, including your breathing.
Below are some resources for various forms of grounding-breathing exercises.
Meditation: Meditating is a very common form of grounding, especially for those who are very spiritual and have strong connection to their mind and body. Don’t be nervous! Meditation is for everyone, and this method can allow you to become more attuned with your body. There are videos and instructions for meditation everywhere on the Internet, it can be done sitting or standing. If you are new to meditative practices, start with a beginner video.
While completing your meditative practice, acknowledge the different muscles in your body and how they move. Tap deep into your physical body and try to feel for tense or stiff areas. What can you feel? Do you feel a certain body part the most? Are you slouching? What can you touch, feel, or see in your position? Try curling or wiggling your toes to feel more in control of your movements. The purpose of this exercise is to notice your body from head to toe. The more you notice in the moment, the more grounded you become.
It is important to remember not to compare yourself to others in your grounding journey. Everyone is at different levels of grounding because everyone has had different experiences and emotions that has led them to where they are in the process (and when they began). It also helps to equate your psychological health to your physical health. Grounding affects your physical health just as much as it can with your psychological health. Visualize the benefits of grounding for both components and merge them as one.
If you or your organization is interested in learning more about mental health education and coping resources, check out our training services at www.mhgn.org and book a consultation today.