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headshot of Jamie Martin, editor in chief of Experience Life magazine
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“This moment is my life.
I move more deeply and quietly this morning.
The energy underneath the noise and movement asks only for me to join it.
I do not will this moment to be something that it’s not.
I inhale what is, receiving everything this life has to give.”


This text is excerpted from Morning Affirmations: 200 Phrases for an Intentional and Openhearted Start to Your Day, by Jennifer Williamson. It’s one of several books stacked on my bedside table, and the one that I picked up on a recent Saturday morning. Committed to leaving my phone plugged in and out of reach, I opened the book to a random page and landed on these words.

They were apropos: I was mulling over what to share with you in the spirit of this issue’s “In the Moment” theme, and suddenly, right in front of me was a reminder to be right here, right now. To not feel rushed or pressured to do anything other than exist, join, and receive. To simply be present.

So, I was . . . for a while. Then my mind started turning, because an idea was sparked.

I recalled a 2020 episode of the Life Time Talks podcast with guest and colleague Brie Vortherms, MA, LMFT, cocreator and director of Life Time Mind, a performance-coaching program. We were still in the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Brie joined us to discuss how anxiety manifests in our bodies (you can listen to the podcast here). Research was showing that more than a third of adults in the United States were dealing with symptoms of the condition at the time. To support us through, she offered guidance on when to seek professional help, and she shared in-the-moment practices we could use when we notice our anxiety levels rising.

One of those practices was “grounding.” Brie explained that taking the time to get grounded in our environment helps to connect our minds with our bodies, release tension and anxiety, and improve focus. Grounding often requires little more than a willingness to slow down, settle in, and be aware of your here and now. One example of this exercise works like this:

First, settle into your seat, sitting tall with your feet flat on the floor. Inhale and exhale a few rounds of deep breaths, and then notice what’s around you.

  •  Name five things you can see.
  •  Name four things you can hear.
  •  Name three things you can feel.
  •  Name two things you can smell.
  •  Name one thing you can taste.

I’ve returned to this exercise a lot lately: as I’m juggling the morning routine to get the kids out the door for school, as I’m editing pages, and as I’m lying in bed, quieting my mind for sleep. It helps me to be fully in the moment that is my life.

As we approach the holiday season — a time of year that perennially leaves many of us in a state of overwhelm (and when so many are already struggling with burnout) — my hope is that this exercise can be a resource for channeling presence and calm for you, too. (For a handy PDF to guide you, visit ELmag.com/groundingpdf.)

We all need and deserve the time to simply be . . . and to make the most of all these moments that make up our lives.

Jamie
Jamie Martin

Jamie Martin is the is Experience Life’s editor in chief. Follow her on Instagram @jamiemartinel.

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