The shutdowns caused by COVID-19 brought an enormous amount of uncertainty and fear into our lives. Many times, these feelings can paralyze and lead us to feel more anxious and depressed than we are used to.
Energy flows where attention goes. So, our thoughts create our emotions and our emotions create our perspective and how we view ourselves and respond to the world around us.
As a small business owner, I have definitely felt more anxious about our current times. Often, I notice my thoughts spinning and become focused on the uncertainty of the future. This spinning creates an unsettling feeling in my throat and chest and works its way down into my stomach.
This is a signal!
When our body gives us signals we must listen. It’s important to become still and listen to what our body is saying because it’s possible that our fear or anxiety is blocking an important message from our intuition.
Here are my top five ways to ground into the body when experiencing anxiety.
Square Breath - This is about practicing sitting in stillness and connecting with your breath. Close your eyes and set the timer for at least three minutes. With eyes closed, focus in between the eyebrows at the third eye. Count your breath. Inhale for 1,2,3,4 hold the breath for 1,2,3,4 exhale the breath for 1,2,3,4 and hold the breath out for 1,2,3,4. Repeat this 4-step process until the timer goes off. At the end, take a big breath in and a big breath out. This is an awesome place to begin meditating.
Grounding Meditation - If it's true that energy flows where attention goes, then this meditation can be super powerful. Set your timer for 3-5 minutes. Find a comfortable place to sit. Imagine a corkscrew circling from your tailbone at the base of your spine. Imagine the corkscrew circling all the way down to the center of the earth. Feel the tip of the corkscrew touch the earth's surface. Sit in stillness and breathe in the earth's grounded energy. Imagine a warm golden sun above your head. Fill up your entire body from head to toe with this healing light. When the timer goes off, take a few breaths and flutter your eyes open.
10-minute Journaling - Allow yourself the time and create space to get your thoughts out on paper. In literary terms, this is called freewriting. Let your pen flow for 10 minutes writing out everything you are thinking about, with no order, or rhyme, or reason. It’s a great way to declutter the chaos and free any pent-up emotions and spinning thoughts.
Creating a Mantra - Creating a mantra or powerful affirmation can be a great way to ground. Anytime you notice your mind beginning to spin in thought, repeat your mantra or affirmation to yourself. A mantra distracts the mind from the mind. Some helpful grounding mantras or affirmations are: "All is in divine order," "I am here now and I am safe," "Inhale faith, Exhale fear " or the Yogic Mantra "Om," or "So Hum." So hum means “I am.” These are simple but effective ways to calm yourself.
Creating Space to Ground - Create the space to ground and connect to the body. Sometimes, three minutes is all it takes. Some of my favorite grounding poses/exercises are:
Legs up the wall - Either on your bed or on the ground, place your feet up a wall and allow yourself to rest for at least 3 minutes. Circulating the blood in the opposite direction restores balance in the mind.
Child's Pose - Curled up in the fetal position, allow your forehead to rest on the ground, pillow, or block. The pressure on the forehead stimulates the pituitary gland which secretes a neutralizing hormone through the body offering even more balance and relaxation. Stay here for at least 10 long deep breaths.
Spine Twists - Lying on your back, hug one knee into your chest and take it across the body. Look in the opposite direction and practice long deep breathing. Three minutes on each side will be a definite game-changer
Upside Down Head - Find ways to put your head upside down. Forward folds, downward-facing dog, or headstands. This allows the blood in the brain to circulate in the opposite direction. Most of the time this will help in shifting our perspective and increase energy flow.
Squats - With feet wide apart, toes slightly turned out bend knees and get your bottom as low to the ground as possible. Push down through the heels and come to standing. Once you get the alignment, set your timer for three minutes, close your eyes, clasp your hands extending your pointer fingers up to the sky and move through this squat movement. Meditate on your breath and body's sensations. Increasing the flow in your root chakra will leave you feeling rooted and grounded in the body.
All of these techniques connect us to our higher self and establish a deeper trust within ourselves. Fear, uncertainty, doubt, and worry are indicators we need to listen to and connect with ourselves. Instead of dodging or avoiding our thoughts, and emotions, we need to create the space to be with our emotions and our thoughts.
When we take the time to create the space for mindful practices like these, it will create the connection to our higher self and light up our inner wisdom. When we are living from our inner wisdom, we move through life with more trust, patience, ease, and grace. All of this decreases anxiety and minimizes uncertainty in our lives.