NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Developing Your Inner Sense of Being Grounded, Centered and Calm

During stressful times, it helps if you can feel an internal sense of being grounded, centered and calm (see my article: Grounding Techniques).  Feeling centered and grounded might not change your external circumstances, but it will help you to handle your circumstances with a sense of calm as well as a sense agency rather than a feeling powerless (see my article: Empowering Yourself During COVID-19: There Are Things You Can Control).

Developing Your Inner Sense of Being Grounded, Centered and Calm

Being able to detect a feeling of being centered, grounded and calm requires you to slow down and sense into your body, which I'll discuss later on in this article.

How Do You Know if You're Not Feeling Centered and Grounded?
First, let's talk about the opposite experience--when you're not feeling calm, centered and grounded, which can include:
  • Experiencing anxiety and worry most of the time
  • Creating or participating in emotional drama
  • Feeling spaced out 
  • Getting easily distracted
  • Spending a lot of time worrying about how you look and what others think of you
  • Having frequent sleep problems, including problems with falling or staying asleep (see my article: Tips on Getting Better Sleep)
  • Experiencing chronic pain
  • Having inflammation in your body
  • Experiencing poor circulation in your body
  • Feeling tired most of time
How to Develop a Sense of Being Grounded, Centered and Calm
As I mentioned earlier, you need to start by slowing down and noticing what's going on in your body.

Practice this at least once a day (more if you're feeling stressed at various times during the day or night):
  • Find a quiet place for yourself in your home where you'll be undisturbed for at least 5-10 minutes (see my article: Reconnecting With Your Inner World Without Distractions).
    • Depending upon your situation at home, this might mean getting up earlier than the rest of your family or taking a few minutes when it's quiet at another time of day, including bedtime.
    • If there's no particular time when you usually have alone time, ask your family to allow you a few minutes to yourself (see my article: Is Self Care Selfish?). 
    • Since both positive and negative emotions are often contagious, if you get calm and centered, it will help the rest of the family, including children,
    • Sit up in a chair where you have back support and your feet touch the floor.
  • Close your eyes (if you don't feel comfortable closing your eyes, find a spot on the floor to focus your attention so you're not distracted and your eyes aren't wandering around).
  • Take a couple of regular breaths.
    • After you have taken a couple of regular breaths, do a simple breathing exercise where you inhale and exhale through your nose (as opposed to your mouth).  Do this at your own pace:
      • Breathe in to the count of 4
      • Hold your breath for a count of 4
      • Breathe out for 8
      • Repeat as many times as required until you feel yourself getting calm
  • Do the Body Scan meditation 
    • When you do the Body Scan meditation, you're slowly sensing into your body to see where you're holding onto any tension.
    • Wherever you sense tension in your body, imagine you could send your breath to that part of your body to help it relax.
    • Thoughts will probably come up to distract you.  This is a common experience.  Imagine that you could take each thought and put it on a puffy white cloud so that it can float away, and then return to sensing into your body.
  • Practice Breathing and the Body Scan meditation daily 
    • If you're not accustomed to doing these exercises, you'll probably discover that they become easier with practice.
    • It all starts with slowing down your mind and your body.
If you practice these exercises daily, but you're still having problems with sensing what's going on with your body, don't worry--this is a common experience that you can overcome.  I discuss this in my next article: The Mind-Body Connection: Developing a Felt Sense of Your Internal Experiences.

When you're going through a stressful time, as most of us are now during the COVID-19 crisis, it's easy to get overwhelmed physically and emotionally.

One way to get a handle on your stress is to start by slowing down and doing the exercises mentioned above to get more centered.

Getting Help in Therapy
You're not alone.   Many people are experiencing more stress than usual at this time, and they're having problems coping (see my article: Common Reactions During a Crisis: Fear and Anxiety).

During times of high stress, unresolved problems from the past can get triggered and they can feel overwhelming.  

Most therapists, including me, are offering online therapy (also called teletherapy or telehealth) while they're out of the office due to COVID-19 (see my article: The Advantages of Online Therapy When You Can't Meet With Your Therapist in Person).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed psychotherapist.  

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.