Grounding is good. Yep, ground yourself. We like our friends to be grounded. “She’s great to work with. Really grounded.” Ummm, what’s ‘grounded’ mean and how do you do it? If you are older, you may remember grounding as the sharp reprimand from one of your parents to “pull yourself together,” followed by a DiNozzo-style dope-slap across the back of your head. Now that you are an adult, you have to do this yourself. Both the pulling yourself together and the dope-slap. Grounding is a kinder, gentler way of achieving the same result.
Grounding helps keep you steady, keeps you from becoming dramatic, frantic, and badly behaved. It’s a self-calming technique. To make it work, you have to vary the method, so it stays fresh. The point is to stay in the moment, not to let your mind fly to what you don’t have, what you are afraid of. Staying in the moment is hard, but worth the effort.
Bo Mackison, a photographer in the Mid-West, needed some grounding recently. As she was going to be traveling, she decided to make herself a set of flash cards to remind herself of ways to stay grounded. But to make them work, she also made them small–and in a tiny journal that fits in a pocket or the palm of her hand.
Above is a page she can use while walking. What do you see–put some detail to it–colors, textures. Seeing details helps you stay in the moment. Grounding averts melt-downs by diverting the reptilian brain to notice details that delight the senses.
A calming exercise helps her think of a safe place. By adding detail, she can visualize being safe and protected, reducing anxiety. Below is a reminder that all things pass. While we generally use it to hurry on the bad parts of our life, it is also good to remember that the good times pass, as well, and to savor every moment.
Bo’s grounding journal has a total of 16 pages and measures slightly bigger than a business card. Make one for yourself and discover a calm and peace through exercising your senses.
–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and is writing a book for journalers who don’t know how to draw.