As a human race, we are evolutionarily designed to fear the unknown. Think about it: in the caveman days, walking into a dark, unknown cave and feeling that fear rise in the body because death might just be around the corner. The fear that provoked caution and stealth to out manoeuvre danger was a brilliant survival mechanism.
In modern times, however, death is less likely to be around the corner, but this fear of what may be hidden in the dark is still deeply wired in our brains. Uncertainty is so anxiety provoking because the mind has no control over what will happen. It creates a conflict between the rational and emotional brain.
The thing is though, life IS uncertain. Nothing is a sure fire thing. So by fearing the unknown, we're essentially condemning ourselves to a life of discomfort and disconnection or a life staying only where it's safe, never pushing our boundaries to discover more.
You can't always change or control what is going on around you, but you can alter that way you respond and relate to it by learning to ground yourself in times of uncertainty. Below I offer some tools and techniques that I have found so helpful to re-centre myself during times of uncertainty, fear and overwhelm.
Connect With Your Breath
When we are anxious or afraid our breath becomes short and shallow activating the sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response. By connecting with our breath we can encourage it to slow down, stilling the mind also. Take conscious, slow, deep breaths in through the nose, down into the belly and watch it flow out. Let the out breath be longer than your inhale to stimulate the rest and digest response, calming the body, mind and spirit. Continue to follow the rhythm of your breath until you feel your anxiety dissipate.
Connect The Soles Of Your Feet To The Earth
Take your shoes and socks off, give your feet a moment to breathe for themselves! Now stand up and feel your feet on the ground (if you can be outdoors on grass or soil). Feel the sensations of the ground beneath you; the temperatures, the textures. Is is hard or soft? Feel how you distribute your weight into your feet. Do you lean forward into the balls of your feet? Backwards into your heels? Is there more weight on one side versus the other? Feel grateful of the support from the ground beneath you.
Come to your senses
We can use our senses to connect with the present moment right now. By engaging with our senses we can disentangle from the web of thinking about the past or future. Notice the colours of the clothes you're wearing. Is there a smell that you can tune into? What sounds can you hear around you? Is there a lingering taste on your tongue from something you've previously eaten? Touch something around you and really feel the texture and surface of the object. Be fully present with your experience.
Be A Mountain
This is a mindful meditation practice that I have been exploring in my classes recently. Imagine yourself as a mountain, magnificent, steady and totally grounded. The mountain is not disturbed by the change of day into night, nor the ever changing mood of the seasons. It continues to remain itself. The essence of the mountain does not change. By embodying these qualities of patience and strength we can encounter every uncertain and changing moment with mindful composure. So next time you feel fear about the unknown, connect to the solid foundation of the mountain within you.
Candles / Essential Oils / Incense
Being grounded is a term in aromatherapy used to mean connecting with the present, being in the now and physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and energetically rooted. Essential oils are a great way to centre and tap into this sense of grounding. Essential oils for grounding tend to be those obtained from the barks, roots, needles and resin of aromatic plants. My favourites are Frankincense, Patchouli, and Ylang Ylang. You can either defuse, light a candle, inhale or apply to your body!
It's okay and natural to have moments feeling uncentered. Don't try to fight or push those emotions away. Let them be felt and then when you're ready ground yourself with one of the simple techniques above. Give them all a try before settling on the ones that you like the most.
Much love as ever,
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