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  • Writer's pictureLiz Tracy

Take Care: Ground Yourself

Watching my gang make their way back to the fall routines, I’m reminded that home isn’t a building, it's an intricate network of relationships and connections. This complex system grounds us and takes care of us. Our group chat is one of the ways we stay connected and shrink the distance between us.

How do you take care and ground yourself?

More than ever, it’s critical that we take care of our bodies and mind. After all, our success depends on being able to function in a healthy, productive manner.

So let me ask: when your flight, fight, freeze, or fawn response is triggered, how do you respond? How do you signal to your body when you are in real danger?

I’ve noticed that the term "stress" is overused and often misunderstood, as it’s bandied about to describe both cause and effect:

· Cause: “There’s a lot of stress at work these days.”

· Effect: “I’m so stressed that I can’t think straight.”

Recent neuroscience has taught us a great deal about stress, we cannot always distinguish between the psychological state of stress and the physiological response to it. What is clear is that if we’re in a chronic state of high-level stress, emotional strain leads to physical consequences. The body responds with anxiety and depression, as well as high blood pressure, heart problems, and cancer. Chronic stress eats away at the brain’s connective tissue. Learning to recognize what the stress is signaling helps us. Tune into the stress to answer these questions: What are we afraid of? What do we value? What do we want?

And what about eustress? That's the motivational boost we get from a challenge: the adrenaline rush that excites us. To find the positive side of stress I use the Positive Intelligence program in my coaching. Recognizing where stress is negative thinking and interrupting it helps!

Eliminating stress isn't the goal -- we would miss important messages. But, we can better manage our body’s natural responses to stress. We can take control, ground ourselves, and even improve our brain’s ability to function.

How we manage stress has a big impact on our executive presence: how you show us, how you decide, how you manage emotions, and how you inspire others. Strong executive presence helps leaders get the results they want. Learn about the 6 consequences of executive presence here.

Severe stress activates the fight-or-flight response. It’s a complex physiological reaction that marshals resources to mobilize the body and brain to peak performance.

Fortunately, it engraves the memory so we can avoid this stressor in the future.

Our ingrained reaction is essentially a three-step process:

1. Recognize the danger.

2. Fuel the reaction.

3. Remember the event for future reference.

Unfortunately, any amount of stress triggers neurological systems that manage attention, energy, and memory. Our ingrained reaction can generate a constant state of stress. You see, the mind is so powerful that we can set off a stress response just by imagining ourselves in a threatening situation. We needed this at one time to keep us safe from the wilderness. Most of us no longer need that highly sensitive instrument. It’s time to take good care and ground ourselves.

When I refer to being grounded, I am talking about that state of being when you’re feeling your emotions and you’re aware of your present-moment experience. Being grounded also means that you’re feeling responsible for your safety and well-being. Grounding is an effective therapeutic approach for managing stress, anxiety, and improving overall mental health. I use the PQ system to ground myself and recognize when my negative thinking is getting in the way. I use PQ to intentionally find the gift and opportunity in the challenge.

So, how do you take care and ground yourself? How do you respond to stress? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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