On days when even the slightest of breezes seems to shake our equanimity, we search for anchors to hold us.
Once upon a harvest moon (sounds so much lovelier than once upon a time, don’t you think?), I had a day when I felt entirely untethered. My thoughts were running a mile a minute, drifting further and further into the cosmos. My body felt as if it was both producing and consuming enormous amounts of energy.
I found myself both exhilarated and exhausted by the experience.
There are different expressions for the feeling. Coming undone. Or unglued. Falling apart. Breaking down. For me, it feels exactly the way I described it: as if I were untethered, from the Earth, from my body. I feel the need for someone or something to hold me until it passes or just to stand nearby and be present until I come back down from it.
There are so many things that can impact our energy. As someone with a deeply empathic nature, my moods can be thrown off simply by someone else’s energy when I’m not as balanced as I need to be. We can also be influenced by our environment, the weather, even something as simple (and yet as powerful) as a news story or natural event. And sometimes our energy is affected simply by our own emotions and the personal stories we haven’t yet worked through. Our anxiety can spring from past or future worries and often provide a reminder that we’re not being present in the moment.
On the day when I felt entirely untethered, I could not pinpoint one particular factor that caused this reaction. It could have been many things. A recent news story about the abbreviated prison sentence of a rapist had certainly upset my equilibrium, particularly as a woman living in a world where the sanctity of my body is not protected by the justice system. Other personal factors certainly weighed in. But in the end, it wasn’t one particular event that could be pinpointed or rooted out. All I knew is that I felt the need to be settled. I needed to find a moment of calm in the storm.
An anchor, a tether, something to keep me grounded. When we encounter this level of unsettled energy, we may have to find ways to provide ourselves with the peace that we need.
Here are a few ways to ground ourselves when we feel disoriented or anxious:
1. Grounding exercises can be useful. Sometimes it’s as simple as standing in bare feet in the grass or dirt and reconnecting ourselves to the Earth.
2. Yoga is an essential practice to help me feel grounded. When we practice yoga, our attention is drawn to our breath and to our bodies and minds. We become completely mindful within the practice, and it becomes easier to quiet the noise of our thoughts.
3. Meditation is another essential practice, although I will admit that I find it difficult at times when my energy runs too high. Still, it is important to try to find those moments of quiet to resettle ourselves and to gain perspective simply by silencing our hectic thoughts. I like to combine an affirmation with my meditation to help with calming. It can be as simple as affirming I am enough.
4. A mindfulness exercise can be helpful. I find that engaging in some type of sensory experience is invaluable, particularly something very tactile. Running our hands through sand or rice (rice and lavender make an excellent sensory mix), taking a walk and observing our environment, lighting a scented candle, putting essential oils in a hot bath, cuddling up with our softest blanket. We need to look for ways to reconnect with our senses to help bring ourselves back into the present moment.
5. I cannot overstate how helpful it is to spend quality time with the people we love when we’re feeling particularly untethered. It’s important to find those supportive individuals in our lives and let them know how we’re feeling. Sometimes just being around our support system is enough to provide some balance.
6. Eat healthy, whole foods. When we’re feeling particularly unsettled, it can be easy to rely on the ease and comfort of quick foods. Fast food, junk food, what-have-you. But when we are at our most vulnerable, we need to take extra care with our health. A glass of water and piece of fruit we enjoy can be helpful in helping nourish our bodies at this time of distress.
7. Laughing is an amazing tool to care for our bodies and minds. It sounds simple, and it truly is. Simply putting on a funny video can be enough to help us soothe our restless spirits. There are several go-to videos, movies and TV shows that I choose from when I feel the need to laugh.
For those born in the South, this is all too hilarious (and relatable):
The Golden Girls always provide a much-needed laugh in times of great stress:
Just watching someone else laugh can trigger our own. (This is the foundation of Laughter Yoga, which promotes the health benefits of laughter.) I know I often watch videos of my children laughing, and it never fails to make me laugh as well.
8. While often underestimated in the rush of our busy lives, sometimes all we need to re-center ourselves is to make sure we get enough rest. That may require going to bed early, taking a nap if we have the opportunity or even just limiting screen time in the evening hours to help improve the quality of our sleep. It’s difficult to manage stress when we’re not rested enough.
9. Find an active outlet.
When our energy is running dangerously high, we may need to find an activity that allows us to release some of that energy. Go for a run. Head to the batting cages. Have a lot of sex. Go dancing. Go for a swim. Not only can some of the energy be discharged this way, but we can also enjoy the benefits of the endorphins that are released through physical activity.
10. Create a sacred space and calming ritual.
As a single mom of children under the age of five, I get that this can be difficult for families. But it’s important. There needs to be a quiet space in the home, even if it can only be accessed once most of the family is asleep. A sacred space is important. We can light candles there, place pictures of our loved ones, put out religious icons or even showcase fresh flowers. However, we decorate our space, we need one in our homes. Sometimes that sacred space can be a hammock in a back yard or a swing on a porch, a seat in a garden or in the crook of a tree limb. Wherever it is, we need to take our time there when things are hectic.
Once we have our sacred space, we can even include a calming ritual. Brew a cup of tea (or coffee). Enjoy a bite of chocolate. Put on music that we enjoy. Light a candle. Read a poem or religious text or favorite story.
We need our calming rituals and quiet moments to settle us when we feel untethered.
Our minds and bodies are precious, and when we come untethered (or unglued, unsettled), we may need to seek out the practices that will help bring us back into a place of calm. Instead of allowing ourselves to be burned out and burned up by these waves of restless energy, we can find ways of collecting ourselves. We learn, over time, to incorporate these practices into our daily lives to help us stay centered.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Renée Picard