Ways to ground yourself when you're up a height
Often when new clients come into therapy, they are experiencing intense emotions that they don't like. When asked how they help themselves when this happens, many clients say they don't have ways to manage the feelings they don't want to experience. I thought it would be helpful to offer some ways of helping yourself when you are knocked off centre, it happens to us all.
1. Look up
It may seem a strange piece of advice, but when you look up, away from your body, your experience of sensations and emotions lessens in intensity. This is because you are accessing the part of your experience that relates to images, not to the feelings (which are strengthened when you look down). You need not even move your whole head, oftentimes moving your eyes upwards to focus on the clouds/ceiling is enough.
When you're upset or anxious, breathing tends to become more shallow and more rapid. Taking some deeper breaths, and imagining you are breathing right down into your belly can help with this. It's about progression, not perfection, so making a small change is enough. Focusing on your breathing will help too, taking your mind off what else is happening.
When you move your body, you move your mind, the two are intertwined and not separate. If you feel emotionally stuck, get up and move around. Go for a short walk, make a cup of tea, have a stretch, dance... any movement will do, so long as it changes the emotional state you are in. I love the idea of dancing like no one's watching somewhere you feel safe and won't be observed.
These are rescue remedies for when you are feeling out of control. It's just as important to get to the bottom of what it is that is troubling you and causing your symptoms in the first place. This is where therapy comes in, a counsellor can help you explore what is happening for you and how it has come about, and support you in working out your own ways forward to lessen anxiety and other troubling emotions.
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About Fe Robinson
Fe Robinson is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor working in Durham on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Her mission is to enable clients to find peace and contentment, whatever their life circumstances. Fe is UKCP accredited and BACP registered, offers EMDR therapy and couples counselling, and holds a diploma in supervision.