It may be difficult for some of us to meditate during these extraordinary times. I found that when I was ill, it was not easy to practice the longer meditations. My focus was not good and my attention wandered much more than usual. When you are ill, this is normal as your brain can become foggy. I did find that shorter practices were a massive comfort. The 3-minute breathing space is a particular favourite of mine along with shorter grounding techniques.

Lots of meditation styles tend to focus on the breath as the anchor for our attention. There is nothing wrong with this. The breath is one of the best examples of present moment. We are only able to breathe one breath at a time. For those though with Coronavirus symptoms, or suffering from asthma or feeling anxious, focusing on the breath may not be so helpful. An alternative anchor for attention is to use the feet, or the hands or some other part of the body. Personally, the feet work well for me. I find the geography alone is helpful, as the feet are physically so removed from the chaos in my head.

Social distancing grounding

I often use my feet as a regular grounding technique if I am queuing for a coffee or outside a food store, which of course is a regular occurrence these days. Outside some of my local shops, there are a series of circles, thoughtfully placed 2 metres apart to remind us to social distance. I have found them a useful trigger to practice grounding.

How to do it?

It’s very simple… As I wait in line, I bring my attention to my feet, feeling them firmly on the ground and perhaps noticing any sensations in the toes. I spend some time exploring what is going on. I might move my feet, shifting onto my heels and paying attention to how this effect the rest of the foot. You may not notice anything and that’s OK. That’s your experience. You can’t do this wrong, as it is not about good or bad. It’s about paying attention and being curious. Its purpose is to bring you out of your head or away from an uncomfortable feeling, and through your senses into the present moment, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.

Its a good idea to practice grounding techniques when you don’t need them, then when something distressing happens it will be easier to tap into. Try it sometime when you are waiting in a queue, and hopefully one day you can do this in your favourite pub waiting for a pint or a vodka and tonic. It’s also a good alternative to scrolling through your phone’s feeds.

For lots of free resources including meditations, tap into www.franticworld.com

Blog post written by Fiona Worthington. Cognitive Behavioural Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Mindfulness teacher at the Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy. Visit her website at www.fionaworthington.uk.com. For enquiries, send an email to info@fionaworthington.uk.com or call her on 07990 514804.

Fiona is leading free online Mindfulness Practice sessions on Wednesday at 6.30pm. These classes are run via Zoom and last for 30 minutes. Spaces are limited which means that booking is essential. To book, please visit:  www.yogamamawellness.com.