By ena ganguly
Whether it is after a long hard day or after receiving shocking news, there are experiences that uproot us, knock us down, keeps us from re-orienting ourselves. It happens to everybody, but with the rate of violence against queer people of color, it happens to us at an alarming and unjust rate. Here are some ways I ground myself when I feel overwhelmed, shaken, upset, or over excited:
- I find a lot of peace in being around trees. I find their energy extremely grounding, liberating and meditative. Think about it, there is no living tree that isn’t firmly rooted into the ground and there are some trees who have been rooted for longer than you or I have been on this planet! Try something new and touch a tree. The way I do it is by standing and acknowledging the tree, reaching out and touching it, closing my eyes, and breathing in while drawing attention to the breath running down my body and into my feet. This is a practice I try to remind myself to do when I feel stressed, tensed, or overwhelmed. It gives me a minute to regroup and refocus, as well as pay respect to the trees that nourish my lungs.
Feeling my feet
- When I’m not around trees, I draw mindfulness to the base of my feet. I might wiggle my toes or even thump my feet on the ground to sense how the earth is holding me. The ground supports me! Sometimes it’s enough to lay my feet down on the ground mindfully. If you don’t have toes or feet, try feeling the base of your spine or your pelvis. Relax your pelvis down. Feel the seat. You basically want to root into yourself in a gentle way, so simply drawing your awareness to that part of your body can help.
- Another simple act of grounding is to breath from the belly. Expand the belly, and try to take a full breath. When you reach the very top of your breath, when you know you can’t breath in any more, exhale slowly from the nose or the mouth. I like to close my eyes or bend down to touch my feet while breathing sometimes too.
Talking it out
- I don’t have to deal with all my feelings by myself. Even if I feel numb, it’s okay to allow others to hold me, emotionally or physically. Talking about all my feelings, the ones that make sense and the ones that don’t, the feelings I feel and the ones I don’t, I let it all out. If I can’t connect with someone else to talk to them in the moment, I write it down. I let my words scatter all over the page. Free write. Write it out and then maybe read it out. See if this helps.
Kindly listening and talking to myself
- This is the most important one for me, because it has been a continuous lesson. I’m still learning, honestly, and it’s not easy. I’m not consistent. For so long, I internalized this nasty voice that pressured me to get over things, to not feel, to be strong, tough, so that I couldn’t acknowledge my feelings and surrender to the process I needed to get to a better place. It started with me bringing awareness to my inner voice, and to ease up on myself, mentally, when I felt like I wasn’t making things easier for me to process. Instead, I started asking myself, ‘How do you feel?’ and ‘What do you need?’ which led me to gain a better understanding of my emotional state and my needs. Then, I practiced respecting those needs. This need could be needing silence, so not watching television or talking to friends. Or it could be cooking food for myself or drinking more water. Whatever it is, it’s important for me to respect my own capacities, my own boundaries and needs, which change depending on how I feel.
I hope these tips help you understand ways to ground yourself as you navigate through life. How do you practice grounding? Share with us on Facebook, Instagram (@allgoqpoc) and Twitter (@allgoqpoc)!