Have you ever found yourself in a crowded place, or perhaps somewhere quiet, and noticed your mind racing from one thought to another? Maybe you’re waiting in line at the grocery store and worrying about the cost of what’s in your cart while shuffling to avoid contact with other shoppers. Maybe you’re sitting in traffic, staring at a long lineup of red lights and you suddenly remember you forgot to pick up food for dinner. These situations are common and often cause thoughts to reel out of control, which may leave you feeling overwhelmed and flustered.
When we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to pull ourselves away from the perception that we are unable to do anything to change our mindset. While it may be hard to leave the grocery store lineup or get out of highway traffic, we can do something to help us feel calmer and in control of our actions. The following grounding exercise is simple and can be performed anywhere.
With your eyes open or closed, take three deep breaths.
First, notice three things that you can feel. It may be your legs on your chair, your feet on the ground, or your coat on your skin.
Second, notice three things you can hear. It may be the sound of the radio, the whistling wind, or the passing of your own breath through your nose.
Third, notice three things you can see. It may be the lines on your hands, a person nearby, or the shape of a door handle.
Finish by taking three more deep breaths.
This exercise allows us to tune in to environment and our bodies so we can better adjust to and notice what’s happening around us.
What helps you when you’re feeling overwhelmed? We’d love to hear from you!
Words by Cassandra Van Dyck