In these turbulent and uncertain times, it is very easy to lose track of your relationship with you. When everything feels chaotic and overwhelming – how do you get centered?
Ungrounded, Uncentered, and Overwhelmed
Have you ever woken up feeling calm, refreshed, and looking forward to your day – then a few hours later find yourself wanting to crawl back in bed? As you move throughout your day, lots of things will pull and grab at you for your attention. The looming deadline at work. The friend who needs to vent their emotional upheaval at length. The news about all the devastating and scary things happening throughout the world. Your partner who is also spiraling in anxiety or depression and you don’t know how to help.
It’s too much.
As an empath, highly sensitive person, or intuitive, the everyday stressors along with the traumas of these times are more likely to significantly affect you in pervasive, lasting ways. The chaos and overwhelm can drain and deplete your energy, presence, and ability to connect. The sense of general fear and suffering can cause you to collapse, unable to leave your bed and face the world. You may feel frozen with helplessness or despair. Or you may feel as if you are drowning, dragged down by the weight of the world absorbed into your very body. When this happens, it means a number of things have occurred.
You have lost your grounding. You have lost your boundaries and protection. And you have lost your center.
What does it Mean to Get Centered
Getting centered looks different for everyone. But at its core, to get centered means finding and anchoring in your own essence first.
Centering is essential to grounding and protecting the sacred space of you. It helps you define and experience your own self as separate from the rest of the world.
As an empath, highly sensitive person, and intuitive it is second nature to absorb others’ energy as well as their emotions. Often this creates a confusing and painful experience where you are not sure where you end and the rest of the world begins. Especially when you feel overwhelmed and pulled in many directions.
Centering helps you find your own self again. When you feel centered you are able to identify and experience your own emotions, as well as identify and make boundaries around others’ emotions. You have a visceral, tangible, emotional, and energetic experience of where you end and others begin. You can have conscious choice around what you take into the sacred space of you, and what you keep outside.
Additionally, even though you may still experience chaos and overwhelm, you are clear and firm in your boundaries, power, and choice. Therefore, even when multiple people and situations need something from you, you are able to experience yourself as more than their energy, emotions, and needs. You experience yourself as a separate but interconnected being, who can consent or choose to not engage with others at any time.
7 Ways to Get Centered
- Meditate. Even if you don’t know how, there’s lots of apps and videos out there for beginners. Start small, and make it simple. Even taking 5 breaths where you focus on your breathing can help you get centered!
- Visualize. Imagine a protective barrier surrounding you – these are your boundaries. Try to see and feel the color, shape, image, and texture of them. How far out from your body do they go? Are they especially solid and impenetrable? Or specifically fluid and permeable at times? What is it like to move around the space within your boundaries? Can you imagine or draw the sacred space of you?
- Journal. Take a couple minutes to free write whatever is on your mind and in you heart. It doesn’t have to make any sense. Just keep the pen moving. Then go back and circle 5 words that feel good. Imagine you are now creating an affirmation poem of the sacred space of you. Put those words together in any order, along with any other words you like. Read the affirmation poem to yourself.
- Embodied Spiritual Practice. Engage in a spiritual practice that you have familiarity and comfort with. Try to practice something grounding and concrete, that requires your embodied presence in the moment, rather than trance based. The intention is to ask for your spiritual beings to support you in the present moment. As you feel their support, ask them to help you get centered.
- Move Your Body. If sitting still and breathing feels too hard, or you start to feel floaty, move your body instead. Take a walk if you can. Or grab a fidget or some putty and start working with your hands. Do some gentle stretches that feel relaxing and help you get centered in your body.
- Contain & Feel Your Boundaries. If you need to feel the boundary of something else specifically, grab something slightly heavy. You can use a weighted blanket or sandbag, or even some books wrapped in a towel. Place the weighted items on your body in a way that feels relieving. You can wrap the blanket around you, or place the sandbags on your thighs, across your pelvis, or down your chest. Experiment and see what feels good.
- Be in Nature. If you can, go into the forest or near the ocean and find a spot to stay in. Even if that’s not possible, find a plant in your apartment or even visualize a place that you’ve been to. Ask permission from the land to connect, and thank them for their presence. Bring your focused awareness to the nature around and close to you. Imagine that you too are part of nature and ask for help to get centered in you. Focus on feeling the sense that you belong here, and are both a separate and interconnected part of this earth.
Finding Yourself Again
As always, if you would like support on exploring how to get centered through these challenging times, I am here for you. Please feel welcomed to reach out. As an empath and highly sensitive person therapist, I especially understand the challenges of this journey. It is an honor to support you.