The Grounding Exercise That Starts My Day on the Best Note
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift." - Bil Keane I am writing this essay two days before my youngest is three. She is the living embodiment of how fleeting each day can be. Sometimes she grows up during naps or wakes up with an entirely new vocabulary and teenage facial […]

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift." - Bil Keane

I am writing this essay two days before my youngest is three. She is the living embodiment of how fleeting each day can be. Sometimes she grows up during naps or wakes up with an entirely new vocabulary and teenage facial expressions.

Yet more often than not, instead of jotting these little changes in my journal, or marveling at how amazing these little humans can be, I found myself more focused on my concerns for the day.

I'm worried about the full dishwasher that needs to be emptied. I'm panicking over the paint samples. I wonder how I can do it all before the end of the day. I have one foot in the past, the other in the future. That was until 2020 came to town and took the breaks literally all.

Throughout this year it has become very clear how often we go out of our way to be anywhere but where we feel most at home: in our body, in the present moment.

Throughout this year it has become very clear how often we go out of our way to be anywhere but where we feel most at home: in our body, in the present moment. I've thought a lot about why it's so good to be anywhere but here. I started to think about meditations on the topic so that I could get a little help and feel more comfortable stepping back into the present, not only for myself, but also for my family. And as I watched, the same thing kept coming back over and over as the first step in coming home to the present: the “grounding” process.

What is grounding?

Well, it's the practice of coming back into your body. By breath, by meditation, by a kind of change of scenery or sensation. When I was figuring out how to incorporate this practice into my own life, I tried a few suggested exercises that at first seemed too simple to be effective. It was right after the first try, when I immediately felt I had snapped back into place, like a rubber band that needed constant tension relief.

And that's how I felt for me. It brings relief. Peace. Calm.

I'm going to share one of my favorite simple grounding exercises with you today. You might have heard of it before, but I'd guess most of you haven't incorporated it into your regular routines yet. I share it in the hope that it will help you feel a little more comfortable in the present moment. As cliché as it may sound, it is truly heartwarming to know that we can always come home, no matter how wild the world around us is.


I heard about it for the first time on Tara Brach Podcast in August. This is called the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, which means you inhale for 4 beats, hold your breath for 7 beats, and exhale for 8 beats. This technique creates just enough of a deliberate change in breathing that you focus solely on the counting and feeling like you are restricting or resisting an exhale.

Holding your breath for 7 seconds isn't exactly comfortable, but the slow and deliberate nature of the exercise feels unbelievable in practice, and it's hard to focus on anything other than the present moment while you're doing it.

How i practice it in my life

I usually do this first thing in the morning. I will wake up, look out, and try to come back to the present moment before the worries of the day take hold.

I will take a few moments to blend in with my surroundings, focusing on all the sights I see - the trees, the sky, the plant next to my bed. I'll take just a minute to notice my breathing, which is almost always very shallow. Then I'll ask myself to make myself comfortable. When I feel comfortable and calm (still in bed), I do Exercise 4-7-8. It only takes two or three 4-7-8 breathing cycles to instantly feel centered.

Then I get out of bed.

Most of the time, I only need to repeat this exercise on the rare occasion that I feel my heart pounding, or when I start to worry, things are out of my control.

Some days I will go back to this breathing pattern every hour, repeating two or three more rounds each time. These are the bad days when I feel really anxious. These are the days when I know I not only need grounding, but also more intentional care, like taking a nap, removing something from my plate, or focusing on the one thing I avoided. .

What this technique has taught me, at the very least, is that I have another option but to worry. And it does not require anything except my willingness to breathe with intention.

What this technique has taught me, at the very least, is that I have another option but to worry. And it does not require anything except my willingness to breathe with intention.

The benefits of exercise

In times of uncertainty, when we feel like we don't have much control over the future, one of the best things we can do is just come back to the present - it's the only thing that really is, really tangible for us.

In a way, returning to the breath in this way is a more intentional form of meditation, for people who don't like to meditate. It can be a lot to ask people to focus only on mediation; the practice can be life changing, but it may take time to get used to it. One way to start moving towards a meditation practice is through this simple breathing exercise - by simply starting to connect with your body and the present moment.

While I am definitely not a healthcare professional and would always recommend speaking with a healthcare professional if you are looking for some extra help with anxiety, in my own life I have found this breathing exercise is an incredibly useful tool to have on hand. for times when anxiety arises throughout the day. In addition to starting in the morning, it's useful before (or during) a big meeting or presentation, when a difficult conversation comes up, at the end of a stressful day, or when trying to fall asleep at night.

My son August started showing early signs of anxiety and it is amazing how helpful this and other simple practices have been for him. We will work together on this breathing technique or we will practice tightening all the muscles in our body and then relaxing them completely, and both methods always help it calm down.

Grounding practices are something even your children can intuitively understand. When you see this, you realize how our adult brains can prevent us from being connected to ourselves.

Sometimes to get ourselves out of a spiral of anxiety all we need to do is come back to what is right in front of us right now, in a truly intentional way - to focus on our breathing, what we are seeing through. window the tiny sensations in our bodies.

I encourage you to try this technique for yourself and also intentionally think about what other things might help get started. your day on the best note. I have found that being curious about what is wrong with our lives is the best way to find a solution for them.

Here are quieter, more grounded mornings for all of us.

I would like to know, what are the basic techniques that you use to feel more centered and present in your life? I'm all ears below in the comments.

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Sometimes it can feel like maintaining a saine lifestyle is an overwhelming challenge that doesn’t fit within the realities of daily life. It’s tough to hold down a full-time travail, eat well, train for a marathon, make homemade green juice, spend quality time with your family/partner, and meditate for an hour each day.

Coffee’s great too, but it’s best to start your day by re-hydrating with a full glass of water. Hydrating first thing in the morning helps to aid absorption, enhance skin health and boost energy.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a simple way to get a little more physical activity in your daily life. It also strengthens and tones your legs and core while you’re at it !

A simple triche for saine eating ( and portion control ) is to make half your plate veggies at each meal. The veggies pack in essential vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients important for health and longevity. And, because they’re rich in fiber, they help to aid assimilation ( aka keep you regular ! ) and keep you feeling full longer.

Using a sport tracker ( like the Fitbit, Apple Watch or similar ) to track your steps is an easy way to make sure you’re getting enough physical activity each day. We aim for 10, 000 steps daily, which has significant physical and esprit health benefits. The Fitbit will also remind you to get 250 steps each hour ( another important measure of health

Conventional household cleaning products are full of harmful chemical ingredients that are not good for our health ( or the health of our kids or pets ! ). Switching to healthier alternatives is a simple way to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins in your home. See our Healthy Cleaning Guide for a complete list of recommendations, and what to look for when choosing safer household cleaning products.

Similar to cleaning products, conventional skincare and personal care products are formulated with toxic ingredients we should not regularly let absorb into our body’s largest organ. Reduce the toxic burden on your body by switching to non-toxic personal care and beauty products ( see our specific recommendations on deodorant, sunscreen, and green beauty products ).

Maintaining a healthy gut has significant impacts on assimilation, skin health, immunity, mental health and more. Taking a daily probiotic with a glass of water each morning is one of the simplest things you can do to boost your gut health ( which, in turn, boosts overall health in many ways too ). Learn more about the health benefits of probiotics ( and all the ways to get them in your diet ), and site our favorite probiotic supplement here.

Aim to eat real food that’s made of whole food ingredients you would have in your own kitchen pantry, or that your grandmother would recognize. ( Yup, this rules out most packaged food, sorry ! ) This is a little different than suggesting you eat only “health foods” ( many of which are increasingly processed ! ). “Real food” includes unprocessed foods like an apple, a cucumber, soybeans or a steak, as well as foods loosely processed from one ( or few ) real-food ingredients, like butter, olive oil, yogurt, tofu, etc. In other words, aim for foods that could be reasonably made in your own kitchen and avoid foods that can only be made in a lab.

Reduce the harmful effects of sitting ( like at your desk emploi ) by standing up and moving around for a minute or two every half hour.

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for overall health, and sunlight is one of our best sources of it. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day—preferably in the afternoon, and without sunscreen ( read more about that here ). Not much sunlight in the winter where you live ? It might be worth supplementing with a vitamin D supplement and/or other food sources of this essential nutrient.

Houseplants help to cleanse your indoor air ( sadly, it probably needs it ! ), they’re pretty, and research even shows they improve mood, creativity and problem solving !

Aim to sweat in some way each day—whether that’s running, biking, dancing, hot yoga, or any other physical activity you enjoy. See our Fitness Guide for more workout ideas, as well as tips and tricks for building regular physical activity into your daily life and a downloadable fitness planner you can use to outline your own custom fitness plan to stay on track.

Green smoothies as a snack or simple, on-the-go breakfast are an easy way to get your greens in each day. Check out our curated list of healthy ( veggie-packed ! ) smoothie recipes for our favorite starter green smoothie recipe ideas.

“The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude. ” It’s true—mindset is everything ! Cultivate a positive mindset by recognizing negative thought patterns and countering them with positive thoughts or affirmations. Here are more mindset resources for positive thinking.

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. But in addition to quantity, quality of sleep matters too ! Follow our tips on getting quality sleep—things like keeping your bedroom cool at night, avoiding blue light after dark, and more.

{Start each day with fulfilling activities that set the tone for how you want to feel—whether that’s inspired, relaxed, productive, or something else.


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