What is actually going on for me?
During our day-to-day reality, we may often experience strong emotions. These emotions may cause anxiety, restlessness, burnout, and other negative feelings. Grounding yourself in the present moment is a simple, evidence-based technique that can quickly soothe unpleasant emotions and provide psychological benefits.
Focusing on Our Reality
Focusing on our reality is a key component of groundedness, a term coined by performance coach Brad Stolberg. I invite you to take a short moment to acknowledge the reality around you that you are living in. What is happening for you at the moment? What emotions, thoughts or behaviours are you engaged with right now?
An excellent way to bring yourself back to reality is to pick up or touch items in your immediate vicinity. This practical strategy can be done almost anywhere. For instance, you may be at your work desk, at a café or at a shopping centre. Pick up the item and hold it in your hands. During this moment, it may be very easy for your mind to become distracted or triggered by unnecessary worries or concerns. Often, these worries may be associated with perfectionism tendencies or expecting too much of ourselves. It is important that when these thoughts enter our peripheral, we gently re-direct our attention back to reality by focusing on the item in front of us.
A simple way to do this is ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the item feel?
- Is the item heavy or light?
- What is the texture?
- How would you describe this item to a close friend or family member?
It is important to challenge yourself to think of different ways to describe the object. In order to succeed with this technique, it is important to use it as a preventative strategy when you may be feeling stressed, anxious or worried. It is important to be aware of internal signs (e.g., increased ruminating, racing thoughts). When these signs occur, use this technique to distract yourself.A simple way to measure your levels of stress is by rating it out of 10. Ask yourself how you felt before the exercise (out of 10) and how did you feel after?