By Dr. Paula Bloom
Remember when the word “grounded” was bad? You came in past curfew: grounded. Your parents got a call from the principal: grounded. You talked back to your mother: grounded. Being grounded was a punishment. What was the point, besides getting out of your parents hair? Supposedly, it was to force you to take some time to reflect on what you did, why you are in trouble and what to do next time to avoid negative consequences.
Lately, I’ve found myself rethinking this grounding thing. Taking time away, going to my room and reflecting doesn’t sound so bad. Actually, it seems more a reward than a punishment!
As a busy mother, wife, psychologist and writer, I’ve noticed myself longing for someone else’s permission to take a time-out. Maybe I should give my husband permission to ground me when I seem to be getting too stressed, irritated or am burning the candle at both ends. Nah, wouldn’t work. If he told me I had to go to our room, the rebellious teen in me would resist. (Yup, it’s that attitude that would get me grounded as a kid in the first place!)
As an adult, when I think of the word “grounded,” I think of a positive state: centered, connected, anchored. Earlier today I was walking home from a meeting, wearing my Mephisto sandals (available at FootSmart!), and I realized that I was aware of my steps. I was feeling the street. It felt so good to realize that I was fully present. Well, I was until I started thinking about the fact that I was fully present.
So often when I’m walking, I’m thinking about anything other than what is going on in the moment. “Oh, I wonder what that person thought of my idea?” “Oh, am I going to get back home in time to go pick up the kids?” “Yikes, what the heck will I make for dinner?” “Will I meet the deadline for this blog post?” Today, for a few moments, I left my head and inhabited my body. Just paying attention to the feeling of the street beneath my feet helped me get grounded.
When I teach clients how to relax and get centered one of the first things I ask them to do is to put both feet fully on the ground. From there we proceed to the meditation, relaxation or visualization we are working on. Feeling the floor beneath your feet is a quick way to get anchored in the present moment. I’ve heard it said many times that the present is a gift and that’s why it’s called the present.
Next time you are feeling stressed, and can’t seem to relax, sit down. Plant your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath. You’re GROUNDED!