How to Center Yourself In The Midst Of Chaos
Centering is frequently lumped together with grounding because one often comes as a result of the other, but they are two different techniques. They are both powerful techniques to know and use, especially in these stressful times.
Grounding v.s. Centering: What’s The Difference
Grounding is becoming connected to and aware of your present environment. This allows you to have a solid foundation for dealing with whatever is going on in your life. It’s like the roots that keep the tree from blowing over in a storm.
Centering is being able to create a distance between yourself and what is going on around, or within, you so that you can observe and act rather than just react. It’s like standing in the eye of the storm where everything is calm while the winds are spinning and causing havoc around you. When you are centered you can dwell within the storm without being drown by it. You can move with or through chaos without being scrambled by it.
Breathing is very important to centering. I go into breathing techniques more in my article The Power of Breath, for this one I’ll just explain why. It’s important because taking slow and even deep breaths pulls your body out of fight or flight mode. When you’re in fight or flight mode, everything that’s not needed to fight or run away is shut down and the tension in your body increase in preparation. Your brain focuses on determining if something is a threat and lets the instincts choose to fight or flee. Your ability to process other information decreases because survival is more important. In the past, this was extremely important and beneficial. In this day and age it isn’t as beneficial because it can be caused by things that aren’t life threatening, like jobs and small things in everyday life. It can also be caused by postures that have become habitual due to the type of work that we do or the way we try to fit into society.
Feeling is also important. That may sound strange but feeling happens before thought takes form. If you can feel it, even if you’re just imagining it, it’s already happening. When you feel yourself pushing back the thoughts or emotions and creating that distance, you don’t have to work so hard at not being distracted by other thoughts popping into your brain at the same time and trying to take over. Feeling also tends to trump thought. It takes a lot more energy to convince yourself that you’re not scared with thoughts that is does when you focus on feeling calm or strong or brave. Feelings are like the raw energy of a lightning strike, whereas thoughts are more like the controlled energy of the electricity we power our homes with. Both are extremely powerful, but are different in application.
Visualization or imagination can also be important. This ties in with feeling. It isn’t necessary to visualize actual images. It’s the creating of the feelings that bring about a certain visualization or imagined state. To create the visualization of walking calmly through a crowded room it takes creating that feeling of calm and combining it with movement. The feel of your gait, the tilt of your head and shoulders, the feel of the air moving past you; all of that goes into creating that visualization, but it’s all feeling that you have given form.
How To Center
There are as many ways to center yourself as there are imaginings. This is a basic one that is effective and is easily adapted to you and what you have going on.
Take a deep breath and as you exhale feel it push everything back to create a pocket of calm inside of yourself.
Feel that calm expand and fill your entire being. Feel it be impenetrable. Nothing can get through that calm to bother you.
Visualize yourself calmly dealing with or moving through what you need to. This step is optional. It’s often easier to do this one in preparation for doing something you’re dreading than it is to do when you’ve had chaos dropped in your lap. For those instances it can be more effective to combine the visualization with the first and second steps and feel yourself at the eye of a storm. Feel and see that calm barrier around you keeping the wind and debris on the other side. You can even use the visualization of the storm itself keeping everything going on around you at bay. Use what resonates with you and what comes to you.
Variations And Adapting It To You
I’ve gotten to the point where I can center myself with just a breath, although occasionally it takes more than one. I just feel everything be pushed away and my tension flow out of my body into the earth. The being connected to and flowing into the earth is part of being grounded. Another way I know some people use is feeling themselves as something else. Royalty or a God or Goddess are frequently used because those beings/people are often seen as “untouchable” and that is the state the person wants to be in. To reach that calm and untouchable state others will see themselves as feel themselves in the center of a stone or crystal. Others will feel themselves as water or flame or air itself. When those elements are “attacked” the attack just goes through them without damage. They flow around it. And, in the case of fire, sometimes consume it.
Notes To Remember
It’s important to find a visualization or feeling that works for you and that you can pull up instantly. It should be something that you don’t have to think about, you just do it and feel it. Be the calm. Be that “untouchable” being. It can be very beneficial to practice feeling yourself in that state when you’re not dealing with a disaster so that you will know what it feels like to pull it up when you are dealing with one. Knowing what being in that state is like makes it much easier to create. The more you practice it and are in that state the faster you’ll be able to do it when you really need it. Practice seeing/feeling yourself in that chaotic state and moving into the calm centered state. Knowing that transition will help you realize when you need to use it as well so you don’t get caught up in the moment, or at least not as much.
Questions To Ask
Sometimes when you’re feeling overwhelmed with emotions, they aren’t actually yours. We’re all energetic beings and the energy around us flows through us. If you’re around people, or sometimes if a large number of people somewhere feeling strong emotions or going through difficulties, they will be giving off that energy and you will start feeling it. This is especially true if you don’t shield. When you’re feeling a lot of anxiety or depression or anything else, center yourself and ask “Is this mine?” You might be surprised at how often the answer is no. Even if the answer is yes, you can ask yourself if it’s really something that you need to react this way to. When you’re centered it allows you to be more objective. It can also be beneficial for dealing with past traumas. Why do I need to hold onto this? Could I have done anything to change it and if I could would I if I could go back? What did this event teach me? How did it help me grow? Did I really care then and do I now? Why did this event trigger this response or emotion? When you’re centered you can ask these questions from an objective point of view and not get bogged down by the emotions tied to the events. That doesn’t mean you won’t still feel them, but they won’t be as intense. Sometimes it can be like you’re looking at someone else’s memories. You’re along for the ride but also detached from the emotional impact so you can see all sides. At times, this can be easier said than done. Sometimes all it takes is finding a new perspective to look at it from.
Have you ever used a centering technique during a stressful situation or moment?
© 2017 Jody Cope