In a world where we spend hours in front of screens or behind the wheel (wearing out sets of tyres), caring for other, and working around the clock we can sometimes become a little lofty and stressed. This lofty feeling can result in illness, brain chatter (those thoughts that keep you awake all night), brain fog, depression, and unhealthy addiction. Retail therapy is just one example of how we might try to ‘buy back’ our sanity for a brief moment through the joy of owning something new. But no matter who you are or where you live, we are all prone to being a bit ungrounded at times (which is why monks spend years on meditation quests… they too are just as prone to feeling ungrounded).
What is ‘grounding’
Grounding is the process of bringing yourself back to the present moment. Our minds often live in the future, like imagining yourself at home at the end of the day sorting your laundry, cooking dinner, and filing bills when you are mid way through your work day, or planning your week in your mind during relaxation pose at the end of your yoga class. Sometimes our minds dwell on the past. Whether it was that bag you missed out on during mid season sale, or perhaps the tragic early end of a loved one from years ago. It might be that time you were sunning yourself on the beach in Bali while sipping cocktails from a coconut. Whether you are living in happy or sad, stressed or relaxed, past or future, any time your mind takes you far away from what you are actively doing you can be temporarily transported from reality. Pretty cool right! As some of you might remember from this post (which is very scientific literature based), we humans are pretty special in this ability to ‘time travel’ from the comfort of our own brains. While this ability can be fun to experiment with (and very handy on long plane flights with screaming babies and someone kicking the back of your seat) if we spend too much time worrying about the past or the future we can end up pretty unhappy. Which is where grounding practice comes into play!
Getting back to now
One of the most simple ways to come back to the present moment is to take notice of your breath. Awareness of our natural breath has an amazing ability to calm us in any moment. When you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious, distracted or over excited take a few short moments to breath in and out with control. Try to fill your your belly and chest with oxygen through your nose, then let out a big long breath through your mouth. Then breath in and out through your nose paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly and your chest and the cool air coming in through your nose, and the warm air leaving it. This practice is perfect for a short moments break in a busy office, home, or school. Grounding is even easier when you are somewhere with a little bit of nature. Stepping outside barefoot will give instant relief from a day of lofty demands. If you aren’t into barefoot, don’t worry, a walk in the park paying attention to each step, your breath, and all the plants, animals, and people you see is just as beneficial. Other places to get your ‘now’ fix can be digging in the garden, swimming in a body of water, laying on the grass, surfing, hiking, playing with pets or children, or even tending to your office plants. Given that it’s mid year, a time where may of us start to assess how our year has been panning out and what we would like to get done before 2017, there is no better time than now to be in the now! The images above are just a few little examples of how you can use fashion to remind yourself to be present (try to avoid too much retail therapy because it’s not great for your bank account or the planet). Just Be. is a yoga label founded on the idea of being in the now, and they create ethical and sustainable clothing options that can come with the visual reminder to ‘Just Be’ in the here and now. Steal Time Back ‘watches’ are a super cute idea for being in the present from a mindful crew of people (who donate a portion of proceeds to charity), however I can’t find any sustainability or manufacturing ethics on their site. However I do love that they have a section where you can add ‘hug a tree‘, ‘stop and smell the flowers‘, ‘peace‘, and ‘love‘ to your shopping cart for free. A great little tool for those who are trying to get over online shopping addictions. The jewellery shown at top is from Purple Buddha Project and can provide you a daily reminder to live in the now through the transformation of weapons of fear and hate to symbols of hope and prosperity. Check out the amazing video from founder Forrest Curran (who is a super nice guy who I’ve had email chats with) below to learn more about this very cool jewellery project.
Do you have a favourite way to ‘ground yourself’ in nature or your natural breath? Perhaps you know a great clothing or fashion label that encourages people to be present? Share with us below.