Grounded in the Present

Being grounded in the present is integral to the practice of mindfulness.

grounded in the present

It is also a concept that is found in yoga, as well as meditation, and spiritual practices – and it has terrific benefits for our mental health and wellbeing.

Psychologists also now recognise that it can help those suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), as it enhances the effectiveness of EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), a form of trauma therapy.

What is ‘Being Grounded’?

Being grounded means to be physically and emotionally present in the current moment. Another way to look at this is to imagine your feet firmly on the ground so that you feel physically present, with your mind also connecting with the ‘here and now’.

To focus on the present (rather than the past) with body and mind, is to be grounded.

When we are in stressful situations, our ‘survival modes’ tend to take over. The very ground beneath us can feel uncertain and it is easier to get lost in the past.

There are three survival modes that are triggered when there is a perceived threat:

  • Fight – involving anger, agitation and aggression;
  • Flight – involving panic and anxiety;
  • Freeze – involving numbing/zoning out.

Fortunately, you can learn skills to help you to safely ‘ground’ yourself in stressful times.

Practice Being Grounded

Below I have listed seven strategies for you to try, to help you practice being grounded:

  1. Use the 333 method – connect with the present by naming three things you can see, three things you can hear, and three things you can smell.
  2. Turn on a loud sound, an alarm clock, high pitched music (teach anyone that you live with and trust, to help with this). [sound]
  3. Throw a ball with someone, or against a wall. [movement]
  4. Compare textures: feel the surface of the couch or chair, feel a key ring or clothing … [touch]
  5. Breathe from the diaphragm slowly, focusing on the breath in through your nostrils to a count of 1-2-3-4-5 and breathing outwards through your mouth, slowly, to a count of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.
  6. Use anti-gravity muscles: stand and raise your arms above your head, move arms up and down (keep repeating the arm moment as if flapping wings). Or repeatedly rise up onto toes and back down again.
  7. Orientate and comfort yourself to the present date – look at a newspaper, look at a recent photo. Remind yourself that the distressing event is in the past.

Please feel free to make an appointment with me to find out more about mindfulness, being grounded, or how I can help you with treatment for trauma.

Sarah Miller Psychologist BrisbaneAuthor: Sarah Miller, B Sc Hons (Psych), M Sc, (Forensic Psych).

Brisbane Psychologist Sarah Miller has a special interest in trauma therapy, and is currently investigating the gender differences in trauma and harmful behaviours as part of her PhD. She is experienced in utilising a number of therapies – including EMDR – which are backed up by strong scientific support.

You can book Brisbane Psychologist Sarah Miller online, or call Vision Psychology Mt Gravatt on (07) 3088 5422.