Ground yourself. Live in the moment. Be present.
These are ultra-hip words used often by yogis, pumpkin spice latte drinkers, unwashed and messy-bun wearers, deep breathers, and observers of the world. To be clear: I’m not hating. I just described myself. To ground yourself is simply a fancy way of saying get out of your head and enjoy the present moment you have been given.
Like all good things, the concept of planting yourself right in the here and now was first introduced in the Bible. Yesterday, we delved a little deeper into Jesus’ encouragement to consider the lilies when we are anxious, and the recognition that if we are going to take the fear out of the unknown, then we must take our attention to the known.
As promised, today I’m bringing you a few tips on grounding yourself when you feel anxiety wanting to take flight. Usually, an anxious moment for me is marked by a quick and shallow breath, a fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, an inability to focus, and trouble falling asleep easily. Sometimes, I can catch it before it starts, but other times it sneaks up on me, running behind the scenes until it runs me over.
In addition to reading God’s Word and praying scripture over my heart, I have found that the tangible tips below help to ground me and take me back to the present moment and out of the what-if anxiety mode. Also, the advice below from my dad is some of the best advice I have received for battling anxiety. And, surprise! It’s rooted in scripture. Read on, fellow warriors.
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Eight Tips for Grounding Yourself When You Are Anxious
- Get out of the house. Get out of the office. Go outside. Even just a few minutes spent in nature is enough to open my eyes wide to the God who created it and remind me of His infinite provision and love.
- Make a list of five (or more!) things you are thankful for. I love what one reader in this series said: “It is essential that I choose to be thankful and praise God in all circumstances. Forcing myself to stop and deliberately list everything I have to be thankful for refocuses my heart and mind and helps to calm my spirit. When I remember all that God has blessed me with, the negative feelings tend to slip away, overshadowed by His love, mercy and grace.” – Tracey. Preach, girl.
- Take five minutes to be still and breathe deeply.
- Take your shoes off. Stand up. And go with me here. Close your eyes and pretend there is a flashlight on the bottom of your feet and it is shining into the floor or the ground beneath you. Sometimes, creatively visualizing the gravity that holds us here on earth can help to steady us when our mind wants to drift off into anxiety-zone.
- Run your hands under super warm water for a bit. Not only is this soothing, but it can help to gently shock your nervous system out of the fight-or-flight response that arises with anxiety. My grandma always said that hand-washing dishes in warm water saved two things: her hands from arthritis and her mind from insanity. I’m inclined to agree.
- Find a comfortable place to lie down for a few minutes. Gently place an eye pillow (like this one) over your eyes and a heavy blanket (like this one) over your hips. Both help relax the nervous system: the eye pillow stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps prompt your rest-and-digest response needed for relaxation. And the heavy blanket stimulates touch receptors helping you feel comforted and safe, similar to swaddling a baby. Don’t have an eye pillow and don’t want to purchase one? Fill a (clean) sock with rice and tie at the end. Voila! (Ankle socks won’t do. Get your knee-highs for this one.) PRO TIP: get two eye pillows and store one in the freezer for migraines and headaches.
- Eat something warm that qualifies as comfort food. There is a reason comfort food is called comfort food. It’s comforting. And it sticks to your bones, which is sometimes what we need when we are anxious. Raw veggies need not apply. Nor do smoothies.
- And my favorite piece of grounding advice comes from my father….
Eat your comfort food, grab a good book, and go to bed early. Gosh, it seems so simple. But sometimes the knowledge that hope will come with the sunrise is enough to get me through the night. On those dark nights, I simply acknowledge that although today may have been challenging, it will not stay that way. Joy does indeed come in the morning. God promises us this in His Word and we can trust Him to be faithful with it.
Coming soon to help you on those anxious nights: a prayer for the weary and a free printable or two to remind you of God’s truth before you close your eyes at night.
Until tomorrow, carry on warriors.
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