How to ground when you're nervous
Maybe it's a big speech, teaching a new class or a presentation you have to make at your office in front of a group of new faces, or even worse in front of faces that you know. You’re worried they might call you out on something, judge you or ask you a question you can't answer. When we’re in these situations, even when we have all the skills and resources that we need, it's very common for the voice of doubt to sneak in. Once it grabs you with its talons it can be challenging to shake it off and find footing again.
When you’re relaxed and in a flow with the natural rhythm of your thoughts you can easier tap into the subconscious where all the juicy information lives. It's not reciting a script, but seamlessly channeling all the content that exists within you. When the nervous system is activated due to perceived danger all cognitive (and other) resources go somewhere else to support your survival. What do you do to keep your mind from going blank? To snap yourself out of freeze? Here is a simple and potent recipe for establishing stability and safety.
A Grounding Minute
Take your awareness to the rhythm of the body breathing. Not controlling the breath, just watching it as it travels into the body and leaves again. After several breaths follow, with your awareness, as the breath travels in. Notice it fills the lungs, as the belly expands.
Then as you exhale see the breath moving down the body, through, the legs and into the feet. Inhale body expands, exhale down through the feet and then imagine as that breath travels down to the soles that from the soles you begin to grow roots. And these roots grow down deep into the Earth. They stabilize you and ground you.
Your body continues to breathe naturally as you move only your awareness. Inhale breath travels in and then as you exhale the breath travels down and out of the body through the feet, into the roots and into earth. See these roots anchor you to Earth. Do this for a few rounds of breath.
Then on the next out-breath imagine that you're scooping out all that self-doubt, anxiety and worry that still resides in the body, it travels down those roots and dissolves. Next in-breath you’re drawing in a sense of confidence, support, feelings of success. A few more rounds should take you to about a minute and you're ready to go.
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