how to feel grounded
Last week I found myself on a super-frustrating video call, as a meeting that was scheduled for 15 minutes turned into an hour. As I watched the minutes creep by, I could feel myself getting ready to snap.
My body was physically there at my desk, present for that annoying call. But all the frustration and stress I was feeling prompted me to disconnect from myself and become untethered—from my body, from spirit, from the Gabby I try to be in every interaction I have.
Thankfully, I was able to notice this and turn to one of my go-to practices for coming back to my body ASAP: I relaxed my tongue.
In today’s Dear Gabby podcast I will teach you exactly how to do this exercise (plus another one of my all-time favorites!).
Within seconds, I could feel my jaw soften and I started breathing deeper. Those deep breaths helped me return to my body, tap into my higher self, and pipe up with a clear and compassionate statement: “Hey guys, it sounds like we need to regroup and revisit this once we have more clarity.”
BOOM! This one little technique helped me quickly move from a state of dissociation to a place of grounded presence.
And I’m here to tell you that you can do this too, no matter what is happening—whether you’re in a frustrating business meeting, stuck in traffic, or in a tussle with your toddler or partner.
These simple exercises changed my life, and I know they’ll transform yours too.gabby
freeing what’s frozen
In Happy Days, I write about how frozen we become when we are traumatized. We leave our bodies, we dissociate and become fragmented. In a nutshell, we lose our ability to be present.
In Chapter 8, I write about freeing the parts of us that are frozen from a somatic (in your body) perspective. I share some powerful practices from Somatic Experiencing that will help you learn how to get grounded in your body.
Somatic Experiencing is a trauma-based therapy founded by Peter Levine. He is a profound teacher who helps us let our body reveal what needs to be released. He shows us how to let our body be the guide, leading us to what we need to do—and what we need to release—to heal.
On page 168, I share practices for getting grounded in your body. One of the things I have often noticed in my work as a spiritual teacher is how disembodied many of us are. I can recognize this now only because in my own journey through trauma recovery, I have become more embodied myself.
This episode of Dear Gabby is all about getting back into your body. I’m going to share two lessons from Happy Days that will help you get back into your body, learn how to get grounded, release anxiety and stress, and feel more connected in the moment.
lesson 1: relax your tongue
A technique that helps your body relax is to allow your tongue to soften and relax onto the floor of your mouth. You’ll notice that your breathing immediately becomes more gentle. When you notice that change in breath, say out loud to yourself, “I am alive, and I can breathe.” I love this practice and use it often. The moment I let my tongue soften, I automatically take a deep breath, feel my jaw relax, and feel more connected to my body and emotions.— Happy Days, Chapter 8, Page 168
You can use this practice anywhere. If you’re in the car, relax your tongue. If you’re in the middle of a fight with your spouse, relax your tongue. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, relax your tongue.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, your breath will become more gentle when you relax your tongue. That change in your breath will bring you back into your body. And that affirmation—I am alive and I can breathe—affirms that you are indeed connected to your body.
This will move you from a state of dissociation and let you ease back into your body.
lesson 2: chant “voooooo.”
Chanting in any form can facilitate an inner sense of inner peace. When you open up to chant or sing and create a resonance in the lower belly, you stimulate your vagus nerve (responsible for regulating internal organ functions such as digestion, heart rate and respiratory rate), which provides a signal to shut down an overstimulated nervous system. The vibration of chanting stimulates your vagus nerve, and making the voooooo sound enlivens the viscera (gut.) The breath work helps you get centered in the present moment and a full expiration of breath produces a feeling of balance. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, your body gets the message that it’s safe to relax, destress, release anxiety, and change your mood.— Happy Days, Chapter 8, Page 169
Do this practice in private so you don’t limit your ability to fully embody the voo chant.
• Sit comfortably
• Inhale slowly
• Pause momentarily
• On the out breath, make an extended voooooo sound, sustaining the sound throughout the entire exhalation. Vibrate the sound as if it were coming from your belly, and focus on the vibrations. Give yourself permission to make this sound as a full belly expression.
• At the end of the breath, pause briefly and allow the next breath to slowly fill your belly and chest again.
• When the in breath feels complete, pause and then make the voooooo sound again on the exhale until it feels complete.
• It’s important to let the sound and breath expire fully before pausing. Let the next inhale come naturally. Don’t force it. Repeat several times, then rest.
Focus your attention on your body, primarily on your abdomen, waiting and allowing your body to naturally adjust to the shift in your nervous system.
Do this exercise several times, until the voooooo chant stimulates your vagus nerve and you start to feel a massive energy release. Give yourself an opportunity to feel the grace this exercise can bring.
listen to this episode to learn:
- How to find energetic peace when you’re feeling anxious
- My personal advice for women who want to relax their body in order to conceive
- How to release negative stories that are stuck in a loop in your head
- A gentle heart hold that will instantly relax your nervous system
Peter Levine defines trauma as “the inability to be present.” By practicing methods like the two I shared today, you will learn how to get grounded in your presence. You will regulate your nervous system and you will reconnect to your body.
When you’re connected to your body, you are inspired. You are in spirit! You’re not using your spiritual practice as a way to get above your body, and you’re not so stuck in your body that you can’t listen to your intuition.
When you’re in your body, you are integrated. You’re a spiritual presence having a human experience. And in your grounded energy, you can have a greater channel through which to receive inspired ideas.
The takeaway? Don’t leave your body behind. Bring your energy back into your body, and then let your inspiration guide you.
Enjoy today’s episode of Dear Gabby, and enjoy the practice of becoming embodied.
get more gabby
- If you want to learn more about Somatic Experiencing, check out my book Happy Days. Chapter 8 in particular, “Freeing What’s Frozen,” offers techniques for regulating your nervous system and reconnecting to your body.
- If you feel you need additional support, please consult this list of safety, recovery and mental health resources. I’m proud of you for your commitment to self-care.
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This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.