As I plant myself on the edge overlooking the sea, the jagged rocks comfortably form around my pink polka dot pajama pants. As I sip on the fresh, clean air of the summer morning, I feel a single tear climb down my skin while an overwhelming sense of belonging fills my heart. I am sitting before the vast ocean that flows effortlessly over the mass of a planet that we know as our home. In this very moment, all I can feel is oneness as the sharp song of nature’s alarm clock begins to wake the world. The harmony of birds chirping, waves lapping, wind whistling, and my breath echoing through my chest all vibrate through my ears, bringing a sense of clarity to the present moment. I feel the cold rush of air from the deep blue waves rush past my dewy morning vision, the comforting discomfort of the rocks that serve as my seat, and the warmth of the sun, just starting to peek over the horizon. As my eyes adjust to the vast horizon before me, glowing a deeper hue of pink and orange as the sun says good morning, I feel at home in the present moment.
I am grounded.
This sense of being at home, the sense of feeling connected to yourself and the world around you, it’s achievable. You don’t have to meditate for five hours, take up yoga, or even be a spiritual person. Sure, those things may help, but grounding yourself is an incredibly useful (and simple!) tool to keep in your pocket when you feel like you’re losing yourself, others, and the world around you. Knowing the present moment is a very difficult thing to get the hang of, especially with the constant stimulation we, as a society, receive from media and advertisements. Though this isn’t all a negative situation, it can become one, and it can become one quickly if we don’t take hold of each and every moment. When we become overstimulated (whether it be from media, our thoughts, our worries, our feelings, others’ feelings, or stress), we lose a necessary sense of clarity, knowing, and connection with the present moment: the here and the now. When stuck in this mindset, pulling out of it is hard. Of course, if you’re extremely anxious or worried about something, the last thing you’re going to ask yourself is, “how am I going to ground myself?” — unless you train yourself to.
In any situation where you find yourself not at your best, whether it be emotionally or physically, you will most likely revert to what you feel is “normal,” and “comfortable.” Whatever you keep consistent in your everyday lifestyle, you’ll fall back to that, whether it be a positive or negative habit. Finding tools to ground yourself, while using them every day, will help you to do the same when you lose grasp of the present moment where you feel as though you have more control over the moments to come. At this point, you may be wondering exactly how you ground yourself. Other than, you know, grounding wire in electrical systems.
Thinking of being “grounded” electrically, it’s necessary for a certain circuit to have an extra electrical outlet in order for electrical current to reach the ground safely, without disturbance or danger to anyone near the circuit. This removes any excess charge by balancing the charged object and the ground. You can think of yourself as the circuit: you have so much energy, emotions, thoughts, and external experiences constantly flowing through you, there has to be an outlet for that energy. In order for you, the circuit, not to burst, you need to find a balance. This balance can be achieved through that extra wire — the grounding wire. There are so many activities that can serve as this outlet for that extra energy and connect you to the present moment, but the most useful are the ones you can use at anytime, anywhere. I like to call them my “ground zeros.”
These techniques surround the senses, something you’ll always have access to. They will help you to live in the present moment by being alert and feeling. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, pay attention to your senses. Find some pen and a paper, and write them down. It’s very important not to judge any of this, just simply feel. Just be.
1. What are you feeling, physically? Stand up, pay attention to your feet connected to the earth below you, how does it feel? How do the clothes you’re wearing feel on your skin? How are your energy levels?
2. Pay attention to what you hear. What sounds are flowing through your ears? Are they distant, or very close? How do these sounds resonate in your eardrums? List some adjectives to describe them.
3. What do you see? Pay attention to light and absence of light. What colors are visible, and how do they look in the light?
4. What do you smell? Where might it be coming from?
5. Do you taste anything? If so, what is it?
For all of these senses, try and express a sense of gratitude when noticing them. If there were no sunny, bright days full of light, there would be no sense of a difference in a rainy, gloomy day. If there were no sour tastes, we wouldn’t appreciate the sweet. Try and appreciate how many vibrant colors the majority of us are so lucky to be able to cherish. These are all things that we can cherish every single day, and by doing so, making sure we stay present and grounded in the midst of an overwhelming sense of energy, or just in everyday life.