First, feel your feet on the floor. I’m serious. Really feel your feet on the floor. Doesn’t matter if you’re wearing shoes or socks or whatever. We’re just tuning in to the sensation of your feet against the ground, the floor, the carpet, etc.
Are they warm or cold? Do they tingle at all? What does it feel like when you press down with one foot? Now try pressing down with the other, alternating between the two. You can also do this with your hands on any surface. Just tuning in to that sensation of pressing into the ground or surface.
Allow yourself to breathe fully. You don’t need to take a huge, deep breath. But if you’re feeling anxious, it’s pretty likely you’re taking shallow breaths. Just let yourself really breathe. No need to focus on it. Just relaxing the shoulders and the chest and the belly so you can get some air.
OK now, back to the feet. Press both feet into the ground as hard as you can, hold for 4, 3, 2, 1, and release.
And now, just let your feet rest against the ground. Feel the actual gravity, that inherent connectivity between you and the ground. Again, noticing the actual sensations in your feet. That’s you. Right here in space and time wherever you are. What you’re practicing by tuning in to these sensations is called grounding. It’s an exercise that helps bring us out of our heads into our bodies and our environments.
Our heads are great, but sometimes… well sometimes they’re so great at imagining things and attempting predictions and preparing for future scenarios that they forget to take care of the here and now. Which is actually the best way to get ready for any future thing.
If anything or everything feels overwhelming, scary, uncertain, the best thing you can do for yourself is get grounded.
Imagine for a moment a person who — for a reason not relevant to this metaphor — has been tasked with climbing over a mountain in order to get home. There they are, standing in front of a giant mountain, unsure of their route, their gear, the weather, etc. They’re panicking. This mountain is so big! How will they ever climb it? How will they get home safely? No matter what, this person has a difficult task ahead of them. But they have a few options:
1. Give in to their fear and give up on home.
2. Just start climbing without a plan because they must, after all, the mountain is huge! They have to! They have no choice!
3. Get grounded and get present so they can inventory their gear, map out a few potential routes, gather a few people to help, and begin the trek with a plan.
Obviously we’re advocates of the third option. And yes, sometimes getting grounded is tricky. Sometimes it might take a few meditations, a few days, a few phone calls to close friends, but getting grounded is the first step to getting anywhere.
Big anxiety and big depression are big weights. Getting out from under them during events of high stress takes work. And I know for a lot of us, more work is not what we need right now. But thankfully the first step is easy: all you need to do is feel your body connecting with the ground.
Out of your head, into your environment, ready to make a plan.
We’re here for you. We’re here together. Returning to that sensation of the feet against the floor.
By Kelton Wright Vice President Content, Strategy and Production at Sanvello
Kelton is an author, editor, and athlete passionate about helping people live happier lives. She’s taught mindfulness to NFL coaches, led hundreds of women through cycling clinics, written an Amazon best seller on dating, and worked with brands like Runner’s World, Rapha, Headspace, Teen Vogue, Bicycling Magazine, Thrive Market, Skratch Labs, Peloton Magazine, and more all with the mission of empowering others. She is currently the VP of Content, Strategy, and Production at Sanvello. Follow her on Instagram: @keltonwrites