Posts Tagged ‘grounding yourself’

The weekend away was exactly what I needed. I had been triggered on top of triggered for so long that I had just about forgotten what it felt like NOT to be triggered. I know that I used to live my life like that, but I don’t anymore, and being triggered is not my “natural state.” Sadly, when it keeps happening like that, it’s easy to fall back into that unhealthy place because being constantly triggered can seem “normal” again.

This trip away has driven home just how important it is for me to meet my own needs and take good care of myself. Getting some physical distance from my day-to-day life helped as did removing some of my responsibilities. However, I don’t think either is what grounded me. I did a lot more exercising (walking) and spending time at the beach, which has always been a grounding force. Instead of trying to get X, Y, and Z done, I read a book and chit-chatted with my sister for hours.

Not being triggered is my natural state just as being triggered used to be what felt “normal,” so I didn’t fully appreciate when I had moved from one back to the other. I noticed it in the little things, such as no longer needing to do different obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) actions to relieve my anxiety. (I no longer had a lot of anxiety to process.) I was also able to sleep each night without needing to take a Xanax.

When I return home, I need to figure out a way to get back to this level of balance. I like to work, but I also need to take time to self-nurture. The good news is that I do know what it is like to live a more balanced lifestyle as well as what tools I need to use to get there. I just need to do what works for me, and that is going to be easier with hub back at work and child in summer camp now that school has ended.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Yellow Flowers (c) Lynda BernhardtI shared yesterday that I have given up alcohol and pills (Xanax) to suppress my emotions. I am, instead, using new tools being provided by my therapist to ride out my emotions without reacting to them.

This was put to the test last night. So far, I have been experiencing flashes of anxiety with no apparent cause. As long as I don’t react to them but, instead, just become compassionately aware of them, they pass.

That did not happen last night when I experienced a full-fledged flood of anxiety. I don’t know what the cause (trigger) was, which was really annoying. If I could have said to myself, “I am feeling X because of Y,” then I could have talked myself down and challenged the lie that was fueling the anxiety. However, because I had no idea why I was being flooded with anxiety, that didn’t work.

I tried using the same visualization that had been working successfully all week (and that I have used for years), but it did not work, either. I visualize that I have an “emotion magnet” that gathers the emotions as I breathe in deeply. Then, as I breathe out, the emotions flow out of my right side. I repeat this process until my mind and body relax. I don’t know why it has to be my right side, but this has worked very well for me, especially with mild triggers.

I tried doing some other things (watching a TV show, burning a lavender-vanilla-scented candle, etc.) to no avail. By now, it was bedtime, and I had to make a choice – Do I give in to the Xanax so I can sleep? Or do I ride this out?

I thought about another metaphor that my former yoga instructor taught me – I am the fire hose, and my emotions are the water coursing through it. No matter how powerful the water flow, I am the hose, not the water. This didn’t work, either … at first.

Then, I don’t know how it happened, but I latched onto my body – I don’t really know how else to describe this – and became very aware that I was grounded, solid, and safe in my body because my body is the hose. As soon as I made this connection, the intensity of the anxiety poured out of me, and I was left with the hose – my body – safe and no longer anxious.

I guess this is what multiple people have been trying to get me to do through deep breathing, etc. I have heard numerous times about grounding yourself through deep breathing, etc., but I never really made the connection about reaching out and grabbing onto my body as a grounding tool. I have mostly seen my body as the “enemy” since childhood because it was the vehicle used to hurt me. For the first time, I truly appreciated being attached to this body.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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