How to Anchor Yourself Here and Now When the Emotions and Thoughts are Running Wild
The mind tends to look forward. You’re here and now but your mind is already planning for next week, maybe even next year. The mind, playing the role of a storyteller, can also create very convincing dark scenarios. Since the mind is, on average, able to distinguish between what is merely a figment of the imagination and what is actually happening or might happen, the body is physiologically and emotionally aroused. This means that in a situation in which you’re only imagining a black scenario, despite not experiencing it physically in reality, your pulse may accelerate and you may be flooded with cortisol (the stress hormone). This is where your own thoughts and emotions can start to flood you like lava oozing from a volcano. When you feel that your thoughts start galloping dangerously fast and emotions take over, you need to “cool your head” and ground yourself in the here and now. Because the here and now – the moment you are in – is most certain. So, I wanted to share with you an exercise to help you anchor yourself in the here and now. This exercise has saved me multiple times and still does when I feel my emotions and thoughts are running wild. What do I see – Look around and notice 5 random things in your surroundings and quietly in your mind label them, e.g. there is a table or there is a book. Notice these objects and let them go… What do I hear – Take a moment and notice 3 sounds. Notice one at a time and quietly in your mind label them, e.g. I can hear birds singing, the floor is squeaking. Notice the sounds and let them go… What do I feel – Bring your attention to your body and notice 5 physical sensations. Notice them one at a time and name them, e.g. my eye is itching, my heart is pounding. Notice the sensation and let them go… Now, let your attention flow freely between what you see, hear, and feel without clinging to anything, without grasping. Just noticing what is arising moment by moment. Let me know in the comments how this practice worked for you.