Do you have anxiety? Have you ever thought, “I feel disconnected from myself?” If so, that means you are not feeling grounded.
You might even have conversations with yourself about your anxiety. Not only that, but you might be confused with what the “stay grounded” meaning is or how to do that when your anxiety is overwhelming you. It is possible to decrease your anxiety if you are committed to it.
There are several techniques you can use for that. Just know there is not just one thing that keeps you grounded, just like there is not just one thing that keeps you anxious.
Anxiety is one of the most common struggles I see as a psychotherapist. Also, I too struggled with anxiety throughout my life. I know how debilitating it can be to have constant worry.
Before we dive into ways to get you feeling grounded, we need to look at the root of your anxiety. For now, just know that this is my opinion and a result of working with clients who suffer with anxiety.
Anxiety and Feeling Grounded
So, what exactly is anxiety? It is fear. It might be fear that something bad is going to happen, fear that you will mess up somehow, fear that you are not prepared, fear that others will reject you, plus many other possibilities of fears.
If you didn’t have fear, you wouldn’t have anxiety. Wow, that seems pretty easy. However, it is anything but easy. Think about it this way. If you felt safe and secure in yourself, others, and the world around you, then your anxiety would be gone. Right?
Now we have looked at the reason your anxiety exists. So, we need to look at where your anxiety came from and how to reconnect yourself.
The Root of Not Feeling Grounded
Again, these are my beliefs, and you can certainly disagree. If you’re reading this post though, I encourage you to finish reading and open your mind to the possibility that what I am saying is true.
Your childhood is probably where your anxiety originated. If your childhood was unstable physically or emotionally, then your brain never knew the feeling of safety. When that happens, everything feels as though it is a threat to your physical and/or emotional safety.
Now, it is absolutely possible that your anxiety stems from a traumatic event as an adult where your emotional and/or physical safety was at risk or lost. That is common, but I am talking more about the anxiety that is always with you. You probably don’t understand where it came from.
Childhood and Not Feeling Grounded
As with most of my posts, I’ll use myself as an example. There were times of physical violence in my childhood. The first time I witnessed that was at about age eight.
That first experience wired my brain to be hypervigilant and fearful of the next time the violence might happen. My ability to feel grounded and safe were things I lost at a very young age.
After that first experience of violence in my home, my fear and sadness was belittled when I tried to express it. I can remember explaining how scared I was that it might happen again. Repeatedly, I was told not to be scared and that I was being childish.
Yes, at eight years old, I was told I was being childish. Duh! I WAS a child. That is how I learned to hide my feelings and pretend to be ok. Speaking about my feelings was not acceptable.
The result of that was my mind replaying the event over and over in my head, trying to think of ways to keep it from happening again or what to do if it happened again.
That, my friends, is how anxiety is created for many people. It is so sad because children deserve physical and emotional safety, but many of us didn’t get it. So, we decide we are never safe. That results in the anxiety and behaviors of trying to feel safe.
Everything feels as though it is a life-or-death threat. Our brains become wired to believe we are never safe. No matter what the situation is, it feels gigantic and as if we may not survive.
Case Study of Anxiety in Childhood
There are lots of examples of how this plays out. We’ll use Melissa, an eight year old, as an example. She has been the victim of physical and emotional abuse.
Melissa lost her coat at school. She knows that she may get in trouble if her coat is not found. Que the anxiety.
Melissa’s brain is wired to believe that she is never safe due to the unpredictable home environment she has experienced prior to losing her coat. All day long, she is panicked and thinking of all the ways she could protect herself physically or emotionally when her parents found out she lost her coat.
Of course, she is not aware that is what her brain is doing. Melissa is so scared of what might happen when her parents find out she lost her coat.
So, she devises the plan to say somebody stole her coat. She even goes so far as to create a wild story of a man picking up her coat on the playground and running away with it.
She will go to any length to create emotional and physical safety. Typically, these behaviors are viewed as Melissa being a liar and a bad child.
However, that is far from the truth but behaviors like this are usually not understood. The reason behind these kinds of behaviors is due to a child’s anxiety and need to feel safe and grounded.
Adulthood and Not Knowing How to Reconnect Yourself
That follows us into adulthood where we are never feeling grounded. That turns into constant anxiety. Everything we experience that does not go as planned, feels like life or death to our brains when we have experienced trauma in our childhoods.
As children with traumatic experiences, our brains become wired that even the slightest bit of fear means we may not survive. Our brains struggle to differentiate small threats from major threats.
For example, if you are on your way to work and there is a wreck that stalls you twenty minutes. Your brain is wired to believe your entire world is in danger.
Your body begins responding as if it needs to be protected. You have anxious physical behaviors overwhelming you, plus all of the anxious chatter in your mind.
This is because your brain was not fully developed as a child when it became wired to believe you were always in danger. That prevents your developed, adult brain from rationalizing true threats versus small threats.
In order to rewire your brain and determine that not every single thing is a life-or-death threat, you have to find something that keeps you grounded. This is not easy to do but is absolutely possible if you’re willing to do the work.
Rewiring Your Brain Keeps You Grounded
I know that my mind and body were always whispering, “I don’t feel connected to myself” until I started my healing journey. I was clueless when it came to the stay grounded meaning of calming myself.
I was constantly planning for all possibilities in situations because I always expected something bad to happen. I just thought that was who I was. Before I begin my own healing journey, I thought I had a Type A personality.
We often view our personality based on our behaviors. That goes wrong when we don’t understand the reason for the behaviors, which have nothing to do with our personalities.
You are NOT Your Anxiety
Trust me here. You are NOT your anxiety. You are NOT your trauma. If you have trouble knowing who you are apart from your anxiety and/or trauma, click here to read my post 2 Ways to Answer Who I am.
Thinking about how I used to believe I had a Type A personality seems so laughable to me now. The truth is that I am incredibly Type B and rarely have a plan. Now, I have dreams of things I want to do and just skip along without plans to make those dreams happen.
Just ask my husband. He knows I live in my own little world, but also everything I say I am going to do; I do.
My healing journey allowed me to relax and just let things flow for the most part. I no longer must have an exact plan or the anxiety that comes along with that.
Of course, my anxiety still pops up from time to time. However, it is nowhere near the severity it was for the majority of my life.
I’m not so special that I’m the only person who can heal their anxiety. You can learn how to reconnect to yourself too.
In order to determine the techniques that will work for you and look at the “stay grounded” meaning for you, we need to dive into how to reconnect to yourself. If you get so lost in your anxious thoughts, you are struggling to stay present and connected to yourself.
Having anxiety means that you are not feeling grounded. So, it’s impossible to actually stay grounded if you don’t know what that means.
A good stay grounded meaning is feeling connected to your body, to be fully present and know you are safe and able to handle whatever comes your way. This gets easier over time.
Since I have explained where your anxiety comes from, we need to explore how to reconnect yourself. These techniques are ways you can get yourself feeling grounded
Techniques for Feeling Grounded to Learn How to Reconnect Yourself:
- Take your shoes off and walk barefoot. Outside is best if possible.
- Take the palm of your hands and press down on your thighs, starting at the top and pressing down to your knees several times.
- Breathe in the words “I am safe” and breath out any thoughts that contradict that.
These techniques will work if you use them. They might seem odd to you. So, I’ll explain my “theory” behind them.
Technique Number One gives you the ability to literally ground yourself. It is allowing you to physically connect your body to the ground. If you’re struggling to see how this keeps you feeling grounded, bear with me. I promise it keeps you grounded.
Think about it this way. If you were to walk to your mailbox barefoot, you would be much more careful with each step you took than if you were wearing shoes.
You don’t want to step on something that might hurt. So, you are forcing yourself to remain present and grounded with each barefoot step.
If you keep your shoes on, then you go much more quickly, and your mind remains occupied with everything else going on in your world.
So, take your shoes off. Walk barefoot. This makes it impossible to say, “I feel disconnected from myself.”
Feeling Grounded with the Use of Your Body
My second technique also teaches you how to reconnect yourself with your body to slow your anxious thoughts. By pressing your palms into your thighs and pressing down to your knees, you are pushing your legs and energy down into the ground.
That’s what we’re aiming for, right? The stay grounded meaning is literally talking about connecting yourself to the ground. Technique Two allows you to do just that.
Now, the first two techniques are definitely mindfulness activities. However, Technique Three probably falls a little more under “mindfulness techniques” in your mind because it involves slowing your breath.
As I mentioned, anxiety is fear of not being safe emotionally and/or physically. You have so much “energy” in your body fighting for you to feel safe.
Technique Three allows you to release that energy through your breath. As you inhale, say the words, “I am safe.” As you exhale, say whatever words come to your mind that have you feeling unsafe.
Committed to Feeling Grounded
Again, you are working to rewire your brain to allow feelings of safety. Doing this breathing exercise helps you do that.
Hopefully, you try these and find the technique that keeps you grounded and feeling safe. Don’t give up after just a couple tries. It takes practice and commitment to rewire your brain to feel safe.
You may find that one of these techniques works better for you than the others. Also, you might find that one works better for certain environments. Just find what works for you and do it!
There is no wrong way to do any of these steps. When you have the thought, “I feel disconnected from myself,” that is your sign that you need to practice one of these techniques.
As always, I would love to hear about your experiences with trying these techniques. Comment on this post to let me know how it goes for you. Also, sharing your comments, questions or thoughts could benefit somebody else in the Not Good Enough Stuff community.
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This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.