5 ways to stay grounded when it seems as though the world around you is unsteady.
by, Lisa Herman, PsyD, LP
I don’t know about you, but lately it seems as though the world is off-kilter; slightly unsteady. With natural disasters to man made ones between countries, the amount of information we are thrown each day is overwhelming. It may be that this is a typical amount of unsteadiness from the world, or maybe it’s more? I’ve noticed that despite whether or not it’s the same, less or more unsteadiness than typical, many are feeling it’s impact and talking about how they are coping.
It’s pretty important to be able to manage ourselves, our family, and our surroundings as best we can to make sure that we maintain our mental health balance and physical well-being. Since we know the mind and body work together, we need to nourish both to make sure our “tank” stays full so we don’t run out of gas.
If you follow these 5 tips on how to stay grounded when the world seems unsteady to you, the hope is that you will improve your ability to shimmy when the world shakes and remain steady in the chaos.
1. Lessen the amount of time you spend on social media, news channels and electronics.
This sounds easy AND hard at the same time. Technology has it’s pros (such as online therapy and googling any answer needed) as well as it’s cons (such as the immediate inundation of worldly grievances). Although being aware and in the know is important, we can’t always change the outcome. Life is not always in our control. With alerts coming to our phone every time something (typically) goes wrong in the world, we know so much so quickly and, for the most part, have no control over the situation. What if we got an alert when someone did something nice for someone else? Wouldn’t that be something? So we are left sitting with all this fear and anxiety without much we can do. Now, don’t get me wrong, knowing a hurricane is coming towards you allows you to prepare and plan so you and your family stay safe. But even if you are not in the way of the storm, that passive knowledge still goes into your mind and adds one more layer of anxiety/fear to your day. We care about others. We are social beings. Most of us don’t want harm to come to anyone. So watching these types of unsteady events can increase our irritability and anxiety. In addition to natural disasters are the possible man made ones like war. We remain hopeful that the leaders will find alternative solutions if they are able, but the unknown…the unsteady nature of these issues we hear about all day long can create a fear factor loop in our minds.
2. Focus on what’s right in front of you.
There is so much beauty and happiness all around you. We just need to stop and notice it. When we keep moving and going we can miss what’s happening right in front of our noses! Literally take a break, stop yourself from movement. Sit down and look at your child, spouse, dog, a tree. Just look intently and intensely. Think of nothing but the lines, the movement, the special parts that make up whatever it is you are engrossed in looking at. Even just 2 minutes of focusing on what’s beautiful in front of you is a start. We know how fast time goes, so why we are constantly trying to get to the next thing is beyond me, but we are all caught in this viscous cycle of “hurry up and keep going” mentality. I think we need more hours in they day OR maybe we don’t. Maybe we have plenty of hours in the day but we just aren’t using them wisely.
3. Have fun! It’s necessary.
When’s the last time you belly laughed? What was the last thing you did that you thought was REALLY fun? We need balance and with the heavy must come the light. If you are too lopsided, you better get balanced out. Watch a funny movie or YouTube video. Better yet, create one yourself! Have a pillow fight with your kids and get messy. Go somewhere you’ve never been before – even if it’s just 5 minutes away from where you live to explore something new. Our brains get stuck and need novelty. Transition away from the day to day and LIVE!
Since we know the mind and body work together, we need to nourish both to make sure our “tank” stays full so we don’t run out of gas.
4. Engage with family and friends.
Because we are social beings we need others and they need us. As we age the hope is that we’ve learned how to be “inter-dependent” and not dependent on others for our happiness. Socializing and engaging with people we love increases self-reported happiness and feelings of belonging. One reason why Facebook is so popular, besides the ability to show off our cute kids/animals, etc. is because it’s a way to stay connected. However, we lose the intimacy that comes with face to face (or phone) conversations. Isolation is also unhealthy and can feed anxiety/depression. We need alone time and time to wind down. It’s another balancing act to figure out what’s right for your personality.
5. Get moving.
Physical activity is a proven antidepressant and anti-anxiety natural medicine. Go for a walk, run up and down the stairs, do something you enjoy like gardening or take a Zumba class. Keeping your body physically healthy will help keep you grounded when the world seems a bit unsteady. Work on your CORE to keep your balance!
Synergy eTherapists are her to help you figure out how to stay grounded and help you work on incorporating these skills into your daily routine.
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