On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the work that it takes to get “back to center,” which to me means finding the right level of calm and mental balance. It’s a place where I feel as much like myself as I can, and where I can a productive person because I am present and able to manage the distractions that come with living with mental health conditions. After writing about how important it is to stay calm and centered, I thought it would be good to share some of the techniques that people use to get back to this state of mental balance so that you could try them too! Let’s dive in.
Five Ways to Find Mental Balance
Acknowledge What You Need to Do
For many people, understanding that they feel a bit off is an important step to take before doing anything else. Avoidance can make mental wellness difficult, and the ability to differentiate between your thoughts and feelings goes a long way toward finding balance. I can’t begin to find my balance or go through any sort of work to center myself until I sit with the fact that I’m feeling off. Just like any physical ailment, you can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong.
Conscious breathing, or deep breathing as some people also call it, is a fan favorite when it comes to anxiety management. Whether it’s the 4-7-8 method, focused breathing, meditative breathing or one of the many other methods, there are many breathing methods that aim to keep you present and calm. My bit of advice here: try finding a few different methods that work for you so that you don’t feel reliant on one form of breathing. When having a panic attack, anxiety attack or a situation where breathing normally is difficult, only having one go-to breathing method places a lot of pressure on that technique to work perfectly for you, and sometimes that can make the situation worse.
I’ve written about journaling before, but this is the first time I’ve thought about it within the context of centering yourself. Since my brain moves much too quickly to journal consistently (in my expert, non-professional opinion) I’ve never been able to get this technique down, but I’ve heard stories from friends about how journaling does a great job of planting them firmly in their present thoughts and feelings. Rather than using your journal as a tool of reflection (which can also be helpful, just in a different way), you can use it to write how you’re currently feeling, and continue writing until you feel balanced or centered.
Feel Your Fingers and Toes
Feeling your limbs or extremities is usually something that’s part of meditation, but for this post I decided to focus on this specific technique instead of putting it under meditation. When you get whipped up into a state of panic or have too much energy, you can forget where you are or what you’re doing. Wiggling your fingers and toes may seem silly, but it serves as an important reminder that you’re real and you’re here. There isn’t always something tangible to touch or feel around you, so sometimes you just have to do that yourself. Remembering you have a physical presence is a good first step to finding mental balance elsewhere.
Notice What is Around You
Rather than dive into a specific coping mechanism (which in this case would be the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique) and leave it at that, a good first step to grounding ourselves is to notice the things around us. Whether we’re in a room with a lot of furniture and decorations or if we’re outside among nature, the goal of this technique is to see what’s around you and acknowledge that it’s there. It’s a small step to recognizing where you are and that you’re presently in that moment, and you can go from there. I’ll admit I have trouble with this technique from time to time, but it’s also served me very well at times when I feel like I can’t ground myself at all.
Like I wrote earlier in this post, I know these methods might not work for everyone, but trying different techniques is a first step to finding out what works for us. Finding a few consistent ways to center yourself can really change your outlook on mental wellness – at least that’s what I’ve heard from other folks. In the mean time, I hope you can join me in finding what works for us!
What are some ways that you try to ground yourself or find balance? Have you found success with any of these ways, or do they lead to more frustration? Let me know in the comments!