The hallmark of wellness is knowing how and when to turn off your stress response. Humans are wired for survival. Whenever you feel threatened, the survival network in your brain and body mobilises its adaptive energy to increase your chances of survival. This adaptive energy, originally designed for short-term stress responses, becomes toxic if left turned on for too long or if faced with a prolonged stressor.
When you find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts, memories or feelings, you can manually turn off your own stress responses and gradually override the survival brain, using all your senses – sight, touch, taste, hearing or smell – to re-integrate your mind and body into the present moment (such as, taking a short walk, breathing deeply, touching any item near you in awareness, stretching, feeling your body sensations, listening to your surrounding, making yourself laugh, connecting with someone/something that makes you feel safe, singing, dancing, positively affirming yourself, visualising a voice/face of someone that you love, listening to your favourite music, praying, and so on).
In this way, you slowly bring back online the part of the brain that stimulates gratitude and remembers the progress that you have made and the blessings that you count count. This is one of the purposes of grounding exercises. They help you to turn off your stress response and bring yourself back to the here-and-now. In this 60 seconds clip, I share why grounding is so important.