woman walking down a trail in the woods

Grounding Technique: Mindful Walking

“I had looked closely at the dirt beneath my feet and learned it consisted of insect parts, pine needles, stone chips, wildflower seeds. It was made up of pieces of its surroundings just as I was made up of pieces of my surroundings.” – Tina Welling

Walking can be a powerful part of your healing journey. Walking benefits both your physical and mental health, but when you incorporate mindfulness in your walking, it becomes even more powerful. Mindful walking strengthens the mind/body connection, helping both sides of your brain work together, which plays an important role in sexual abuse trauma recovery.

Here are some of our tips for effective mindful walking:

  • You may be surprised by the insights you gain while walking mindfully. Some people find it helpful to carry a pen and paper to make notes of what they’ve seen, heard, or discovered on their walks.
  • It’s important to be fully present in your body as you walk. Feel your feet in your shoes, concentrate on the way they feel as they hit the ground. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and notice how you feel. Say to yourself, “I am going on a mindful walk.”
  • You can practice breathing techniques as you walk. Count your breaths in time to your walking, or imagine positive feelings being inhaled and negative feelings being exhaled.
  • Notice your surroundings as you walk. Focus on one sense at a time. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel? Pay special attention to small details you might have otherwise missed.
  • Come up with some positive declarations to say while you walk. Combining positive declarations and physical movements supports the healing process. Say the words in the same cadence you are walking. Repeat the declaration over and over again as you walk. You may notice you walk taller, breathe deeper, and inhabit your body more fully. Some positive declarations to try are:
    • I’m strong
    • I’m on my healing journey
    • I am loveable
    • I’m thankful for…
    • Peace comes in, fear goes out

Remember to go at your own pace. If all you can do is walk around the block, that’s where you start. The important part isn’t the distance or the time, but that you get out there and walk, utilizing mindfulness as you go.

Make the decision to only entertain positive thoughts on your mindful walk. If negative, troubling, or stressful thoughts come to mind, calmly recognize them for what they are and shift your focus to something else. Keep bringing your mind back to the focus of your mindful walk and the benefit it has for your healing journey.

Exercise Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. If you are concerned about whether the exercises in this program are right for you, do not do them unless you have cleared it with your physician. The exercises and instructions included above are not a substitute for medical counseling. These exercises can result in injury. If at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately. You are responsible for exercising within your limits and seeking medical advice and attention as appropriate. The Younique Foundation is not responsible for any injuries that result from participating in the exercises above.

 

Asian woman sitting against a tree looking into the distance

Grounding Technique: Mindfulness

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Sinn- 

Practicing mindfulness can benefit you in every aspect of your life, but it’s especially beneficial to keep you grounded in the moment. This will help you regulate your emotions, help problem solve, and make you better at conflict resolution. Depression and anxiety force you to live in the past or the future, but mindfulness brings you back to the present. Below is an example of a mindfulness practice.

  • Notice your surroundings.
  • Name one of your five senses and focus on it for five minutes. For example: “This is my sense of smell. I can smell my deodorant, I can smell spaghetti sauce in the kitchen, I can smell my daughter’s strawberry shampoo…”
  • Go through each of your senses, focusing on each one for as long as you can.
  • Notice every small detail without assigning a value or judgment to it. Don’t bring your emotions into it, just notice things and move on.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.

There are a multitude of mindfulness exercises that you can discover with a simple internet search. Find the mindfulness technique that works best for you and use it anytime you feel yourself in need of grounding.

You can find an overview of other grounding techniques here.

woman smiling and looking downward as she walks along a beach

Grounding Technique: Guided Imagery

“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean the future can’t be better than you ever imagined.” – Ziad K. Adelnour

In the above video you’re walked through one of many types of guided imagery journeys. You can also walk yourself through an imaginary place or scenario. The only thing to keep in mind is that this is meant to be calming and grounding. Avoid places or scenarios that can raise your anxiety level.

Guided imagery can be a powerful technique. It allows your body and mind to connect and is especially important if you have a tendency to disconnect from yourself in high-anxiety situations. When your brain imagines something vividly enough, your body will treat it as though it’s real. Your body will literally respond to the detailed imagery you are thinking about, which immediately helps you relax and lowers your stress level.

Natural consequences of guided imagery could be regulating your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and altering your breathing. Lastly, it involves all of your senses, as well as your whole body, and emotions. In this way, it can help you tap into inner strength, find hope, and enhance your ability to cope with stressful situations.

Practice guided imagery and see if this grounding technique works for you!

Learn more about other grounding techniques by clicking here.

woman sitting on a dock facing a lake

Grounding Technique: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

Remember that progressive muscle relaxation is systematically tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout your body. Generally, people will either start at the top or bottom of their bodies and progress in the opposite direction.

To begin using progressive muscle relaxation, follow these simple steps:

  • Find a comfortable position, whether sitting on a chair or on the floor.
  • Inhale through the nose and tense a muscle group.
  • Hold your breath and the tension in your muscles for a few moments.
  • Release the muscle tension as you exhale.
  • Relax for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat twice for each muscle group.
  • Continue the process through the entire body.
  • After you’ve tensed and released each muscle group twice count backwards from 5 to 1 to bring your focus back to the present.

Progressive muscle relaxation can help you reduce anxiety immediately by reducing the cortisol levels in your body (a hormone released when you’re stressed). It can also help combat insomnia, and, in some studies, has been shown to reduce the symptoms of certain types of chronic pain. Try it and see if you recognize any of these benefits in your own life.

Learn more about other grounding techniques here.

Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. If you are concerned about whether the exercises in this program are right for you, do not do them unless you have cleared it with your physician. The exercises and instructions are not a substitute for medical counseling. These exercises can result in injury. If at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately. You are responsible for exercising within your limits and seeking medical advice and attention as appropriate. The Younique Foundation is not responsible for any injuries that result from participating in the exercises shown in this program.
girl sitting at the edge of a lake with her eyes closed

Grounding Technique: Breathing

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breath is my anchor.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing gives you something to focus on and control as well as providing much-needed oxygen to your brain during a triggering moment. It can center you by helping to combat your anxiety or depression. Breathing can help regulate both and bring you back to a happy medium.

You don’t need any fancy gadgets for breathing, which makes it perfect for any and every situation. It’s a learnable skill that can be incredibly effective the more you practice.

So how do you practice?

Sit down somewhere comfortable, whether it’s a chair or the floor, where you won’t be disturbed. Now you’re ready to start.

  • Inhale through your nose, counting to four
  • Hold your breath, counting to two
  • Exhale through your nose, counting to six
  • Put a hand on your abdomen and one on your chest, so you can feel the breathing as it is occurring.

Adjust the count as you feel necessary – if you’re combatting depression, try doing longer inhales and shorter exhales; if you’re combatting anxiety, try shorter inhales and longer exhales. As you count you may find your mind wandering, that’s okay, just bring your thoughts back to your breathing and relax into the moment.

You can read an overview of several other grounding techniques here.