Have you been feeling uneasy, drifting, lost? Maybe your life doesn’t seem to have a clear purpose or direction right now. We often feel unbalanced or off kilter during times of major transition such as adjusting to parenthood, job changes, a new home, health issues, or loss. But sometimes our lives may seem relatively steady on the surface yet we still find ourselves gradually feeling out of sorts.
The concept of being grounded refers to a feeling of being stable, at ease, and consciously present. When we feel grounded, we are able to accept and let go of the momentary tough moments throughout the day and are not easily influenced by others’ ideas or feelings. You feel more at peace with your authentic self.
It’s normal to feel more or less grounded during different times in our lives. Recognizing when we are not grounded is a useful practice to help us correct course and continue growing.
Signs You May Not Be Grounded
- Feeling uneasy or lost
- Difficulty finishing projects
- Lack of passion or pleasure for things you used to enjoy
- Strong need to fix yourself or things in your life
- Questioning things more than usual
- Less connected to the people you love
- Engaging in constant distractions to avoid the quiet of your own thoughts
If these symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to look beneath the surface. It’s uncomfortable to sit in this place of unease. We naturally want to escape the discomfort with distractions. We pour our time and energy into one thing or another, whether it’s work, volunteering, or exercise. But all these attempts to fill this empty space with external activities will eventually fall short. And even then we tend to beat ourselves up for failing to solve our discomfort when it was really never going to work in the first place.
The only way to begin feeling grounded again is to look within to deeply understand where this feeling is coming from and tend to your inner needs.
Meditation for Feeling Grounded
Begin by tuning in. Create an opportunity to sit quietly, free from distractions, and observe your own thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Breathing deeply, imagine your scanning your mind, heart, and body in a very neutral, curious way. Just notice your experience in the moment. The goal of this exercise is to increase your awareness of your inner world. Try taking the position of a curious observer without any judgement or attachment to what you experience. You’ll likely notice critical self-talk bubbling up at times. See if you can soften into these uncomfortable spaces and accept your own tendencies to evaluate and judge. Then give yourself permission to take a break from this tendency in order to understand yourself more compassionately. When we are kind and compassionate with ourselves, we can allow ourselves to be more vulnerable and authentic.
Explore your longings. Ask yourself what you want or need right now. When we take time to really listen to our inner longings, we often find direction for what we need. Maybe we need mental stimulation, physical activity, social connections, or peace. Maybe there’s a facet of ourselves that hasn’t had a chance to shine lately. You might miss playing the guitar or caretaking. Be open to whatever longing surfaces without judgement or logic about how to fulfill it. The idea is just to increase your awareness of what you want or need in this moment. Being accurate and honest about what we’re longing for allows us to stop seeking fulfillment in the wrong places.
Identify what you’re ready to let go of right now. We often carry burdens that get in the way of fulfilling our longings. Notice the walls you create for yourself. Explore the pain and suffering you carry. Perhaps you’re full of self-doubt, fear, anger, or old notions of who you should or shouldn’t be. Ask yourself how well these are working for you right now. Are they protecting you or limiting you? Imagine how you would feel to begin letting go of just one thing that’s weighing you down. How would it feel? Can you release just a piece of this burden?
Root yourself. Imagine energetic roots extending downward from your body into the earth. This is a creative exercise that can produce a comforting sensation throughout the nervous system. You might envision strong tree roots moving down through the layers of earth, sand, clay, and rock. Go as deep and as wide as you need right now. And just notice how this image feels in your body, heart, and mind. Be aware of how a strongly rooted self feels able to withstand changes in the wind without crumpling or drifting off. Enjoy a sense of steadiness. And see if you can carry this feeling throughout moments in your day, recalling this image regularly to remain grounded.
This exercise is a helpful part of any wellness practice. If you find that you want to delve more into this inner work or if you continue to feel unease and anxiety in your life, it would be a good opportunity to seek professional guidance. Psychotherapists can be helpful guides to finding your own authenticity and health.
Written by Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. for the Lakefront Psychology Blog. If you are interested in more original articles about mental health, postpartum issues, wellness, relationships, and parenting, please subscribe to the blog using the button below. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Smith, please contact Lakefront Psychology at 216-870-9816.