Taking internal action to reset is a super useful life management skill to master. Those in the meditation world refer to this process as “grounding” or “centering”. For me, I keep things simple and refer to it as “resetting”. As a mental health provider, I describe this process to be like pressing a button to start over.
It is an opportunity that we can each create to clean the slate and begin again. It brings a person back to where they want to be and more importantly, who they want to be. Most of us like ourselves better when we have a sense of being able to effectively manage our lives in times of stress and chaos.
Being present as a guide for psychotherapy clients who are trying this experience for the first time is fascinating. The variation is amazing when people decide on what “works” for them. A particularly memorable client for me was a man in his early sixties who was new and skeptical to this idea of tuning and resetting. For most of his life, he utilized distraction strategies that were only temporarily effective and no longer seemed to work for him. He was having difficulty sleeping and specifically turning his mind off from a constant circling of thoughts. We discussed how he may be able to incorporate elements of mindfulness and guided imagery into a routine to be able to effectively improve his sleep hygiene.
He experimented with a number of variations until finding one that worked best for him. This is an extremely individualized process with each of us benefiting from different creative approaches to meeting our goals. This client’s process began with an image of a giant movie screen. His screen was black and the theatre, dark. He was instructed to focus on his environment, noticing the smells, temperature and the fact that he was the only patron in this private theatre where he occupied the very center seat.
Igniting as many of the five senses as possible is an essential feature of guided imagery. As time passed, he would realize that as he stared at the screen, a word would come into focus. He described the word in detail. It was a bright, brilliant white single word consisting of all lower-case letters, block print. His word, the word that would eventually assist him in returning to sleep and regaining a sense of control in his life was “calm”.
When trying to achieve a sense of calm, patience, joy, pleasantness, power or peace, it is useful to remember that like anything in life, it takes tremendous practice. At times it will seem to happen almost effortlessly. Other times, you may have to redirect your thoughts many times in order to achieve the goal that you have for yourself. When you are practicing, it is critical to remember that this process will be most effective when you couple your thoughts with your breath.
Breathing is perhaps the most critical ingredient to being successful at resetting. Your breath should match your thoughts. The pace of your breathing should be rhythmic and intentional. It can be incredibly helpful to count your breaths in and out when first tuning into your breathing rhythm. When your breaths slow, so do your thoughts. It is truly a remarkable process.
Resetting is truly a directed self-care process that has the potential to reshape your day. It is an empowering process to make a decision to start anew or simply to pause. Times, when this is most helpful, may be when we feel that we are victim to external circumstances and we feel a bit out of control. When experiencing stress, we are often needing to experience a sense of control.
Thankfully, we always have our breath and our thoughts to control. Consider for a moment the ripple effect that incorporating the process of resetting could have in your life. You may be a better decision-maker, more patient and attuned parent, productive and focused worker, pleasant and present spouse.
Join us at The Yoga Room at Perspectives Therapy Services to help work on your grounding.
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland, Fenton and New Hudson, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.