Being grounded, yoga-style

Being grounded, yoga-style

Being grounded as an adult is so completely different from the definition of being grounded as a child.  As a kid, it's a punishment. As an adult, it's necessary to mental health.

I have such a hard time understanding the concept of being grounded, though. I understand the principles of it, and the benefits. But being grounded as an action? My mind keeps springing to the idea of having one's feet planted firmly on the ground.

I suppose that can be a part of being grounded, but planting my feet doesn't help me when I want nothing more than to escape.

Oh my goodness, I keep wanting escape. Escape from depression. Escape from anxiety. Escape from rumination, from responsibility, from stress and stressful situations and disappointing people and...

I'm craving a glass of wine at the moment, just thinking of all that, except I'm on a hiatus from it while I'm battling stress-induced, migraine-associated vertigo (brief attacks, but so annoying), and while I'm getting used to Effexor, my new medicine.

So far, it seems to be having some effect. A little bit, but not much at the moment. It's a mix of depression, anxiety, and the mental need to do stuff but the physical tiredness still dragging me down. Negative thoughts are still dragging me down, too. I think that's the primary change with Effexor. My most recent depressive episode, I kept thinking about all the times I've failed, agonizing over awkward social situations, and being annoyed by freaking everything. Right now, I keep thinking about the same things, but not quite to the same degree. Maybe only 80% of the time instead of 95%. Despite the improvement, it's still not a good way to be before the workweek.

And actually, I think the panic-iness has increased, but that might just be an effect of my mood improving before the anxiety does.

I need to ground myself.

My best understanding of "grounding" at the moment is simply by conceiving it as mindfulness. Well, actually, that's exactly what my therapist says, but it can take a while for me to grasp onto concepts that I have little experience with.  Sure, I can focus on how I feel right now, how I'm sitting in the chair, the pressure of clothes on my skin, the color of the sofa...

..but I keep thinking about the groceries I have to get and how sucky I am because I don't feel like going out to get it right now, the end-of-year-party I have to plan for work, how much I miss my siblings, the mortgage process and (oh my goodness we're going to be broke even though my husband has run the numbers and says we're going to be just fine) planning for a vacation (or the lack thereof because I can't seem to focus on anything lately)....

Yeah. Maybe moving around might feel better.

So, I did yoga. My therapist said that I should start doing it, because it's hard not to be grounded during yoga. I nodded in agreement, but I thought My mind always goes everywhere during yoga. But moving around makes it hard to follow a train of thought down the rabbit hole of rising anxiety that crashes about your head like a windy Lake Michigan.

I'm going to make myself do some yoga by considering it as a form of medicine. There are studies that show an improvement in mood if people do 50 minutes of yoga 3x/week, or if they do 30 minutes of yoga 5x/week, for at least two weeks. See--that looks like medication dosages.

I tried a DVD she lent me, but it wouldn't play in my laptop, so I downloaded some yoga apps on my iPad and tried them. 20 min on one, and 30 min on the other. I'll recommend the apps later after I try them more, but dayum, was I wound up tight. My muscles had tensed up so much over the last week or two that even downward facing dog was slightly painful at first.

I'm going to do it again tomorrow, because I seriously need to loosen up that neck. I'm pretty sure my neck stiffness is why I keep having migraines and vertigo.

I still feel unsettled. Maybe a smidge better, but still unsettled.

I'll keep practicing at getting grounded, and see if yoga can help with that.

Filed under: Abuse, recovery


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  • You are astute to notice that your stiff neck muscles are probably the cause of your migraines and vertigo. Many never recognize that strange physical symptoms have a psychogenic origin.

    Yoga is a good way to practice mindfulness, as are other physical movements done with concentration.

    Panic and anxiety and cousin depression must be acknowledged and felt by the person. Distraction will not work. You cannot not think about the color pink for the next five minutes by not trying to think about it.

    Feeling what you are experiencing and not giving into fear will help along with the Yoga. The body can take only so much fear and then it subsides. Then healing starts.

    Keep on the track you are on and you will find peace. It will be there and then you will notice it.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Thanks, Richard--and you're exactly right about distraction. It's like the old mind game of "don't think about the white bear," whereupon it just makes you focus on it. Though in some ways distraction does help break the cycle of rumination--I guess it's a balancing act.

  • Look for a gentle yoga class is your area. Sometimes I think it is best to get out of the house in a studio environment where there are no distractions to really get grounded. Although, a video or app is of course better than nothing.

  • In reply to Yoga Mom:

    That sounds great in theory--and I know of at least one "pay what you can" yoga class that I can go to, but I get SO self-conscious about my body during yoga. How weak it is, my stinky feet, and the farts I have whenever I do some bends. Maybe once I get stronger physically I'll do that, but for now, it's really nice to be able to do it at home. No excuses this way, ha.

    Plus at home, the cats like to help me by biting my feet. Wait...that IS one advantage of going kitties thinking that I want to play.

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