In my latest mindful parenting guest post, Lisa McCrohan of The Barefoot Barn shares her observations about our culture of hurry, as well as a useful exercise for slowing down and getting grounded.
We are a culture of hurry, worry and busy. Many of us walk around with amped up nervous systems, multi-tasking as we sit at a stoplight handing breakfast to our kiddos in the backseat, checking our email in line at a coffee shop, or sitting down for a half hour “mama time” with a friend while getting distracted at least three times by an incoming text. And e wonder why we don’t sleep well or have energy, and we react to our kiddos and partner.
We’re addicted to hurry. And I get it. I live it, too. I feel the pressure building the minute I wake up. I feel my mind start to race with the various “to do lists” as I walk to the shower. I feel the prompt to speed up and get out the door. This is often what I hear in therapy with clients and on the playground with other moms. Our morning starts out in a rush and we set ourselves up for another day of running, a whole lot of distractions, and little connection, presence, and peace.
Yet we were not meant to stay in stress mode all day long. Our bodies know what to do to come back in to balance. But we impede this relaxation response from clearing our nervous system of the tsunami of stress hormones that flood our bodies just getting the kiddos out the door when we keep going and going.
We intuitively know that something has to change. We want to slow down. We want to make time for what really matters. We want to feel a deep sense of peace – or maybe just feel like we have time to chew our food and hang out with our kiddos.
What do we do? Let me ask you this: Would you own a car without brakes? Heck no. It’s the same with our lives. We can’t keep going without breaks that nourish our bodies, minds, and hearts. We need “mindful moments” in our day. “Mindful moments” are little pauses of coming back to our senses and returning home to ourselves. They slow down the stress response and get us grounded. They help us to access the part of our brains used for wise decision making and to respond instead of react.
Here are is a “mindful moment” practice that’s called “Get Grounded” and you can start using in your everyday life:
Wherever you are, standing or sitting, notice your feet on the ground.
Imagine the earth beneath you.
FEEL your feet.
Soften the muscles in your legs.
Feel the pelvic bone point down toward the earth.
Relax the belly.
Feel your chest lifting up slightly toward the earth from the back of the heart.
Imagine an expansive collarbone.
Feel the crown of the head rise up to the sky.
Come into your BREATH.
Focus on the exhale.
Exhale FULLLLLLLLY — all the way out.
Notice the deep inhale that arrives now.
Do this three times.
Then ask, “What’s the next right thing to do?”
Getting grounded turns off the “stress response” and turns on the “relaxation response.” It gets us to a place where we can make a wise choice about how we want to go through our day. It wakes us up to be here right now in this moment…and give ourselves a dose of compassion. It supports us in choosing compassion as we interact with the dear ones in our lives. Practiced over time, several times a day, Getting Grounded” can heal the hurry in our nervous system and show us the wellspring of peace available to and within us.
Lisa A. McCrohan, MA, LCSW-C, RYT, is a mom, psychotherapist, compassion coach, and mindfulness/yoga teacher. She facilitates mindfulness-based wellness workshops for faculty and staff at Georgetown University. She is the founder of the Barefoot Barn, a movement inspiring delight, compassion, and connection in our everyday lives. You can find her at www.barefootbarn.com