What had I even been crying about? Truly. This woman sitting across from me hadn’t said anything mean to me. Nothing in the room was even remotely sad. I had just been spinning painful thoughts around in my mind because (I rationalized) grief and sadness had been convenient and persistent pals over the previous months, and I didn’t really know who I’d be without them.
Waking up from cyclical, egoic thoughts can often feel like that. One day, you just wake up. You think to yourself, “Okay, I’m done with that now.” And you just move the fuck on.
This was one of those days for me.
“Don’t let your mind win.”
The comment was simple. Just like the solution was.
I just had to put a wedge in the familiar, comforting thought pattern… and just be done with it, once and for all.
4. The ultimate grounding technique for life’s highs and lows
If you’ve been watching and reading closely over the years, you may have noticed that I am someone that tends to have a lot of energy to utilize. Which can be a blessing and a curse, depending on the day and how I’m relating to it.
People with a lot of energy can create amazing things and contribute to the world mightily… if they figure out how to harness, channel, and focus their energy on a worthy task. But if they don’t tame the wild beast, then it can wreak havoc in their lives and lead to addictions, compulsions, and other low leverage, unfulfilling ways that energy can slip out sideways when you don’t give it a job to do.
As a result, staying on top of my energy management has always been imperative for me.
One tool that one of my therapists gave me several years ago has served me well, and it’s deceptively simple. So don’t knock it before you try it.
It will ground you in your highs, and bolster you in your lows.
Okay, here’s how it works.
Anytime you are feeling something that feels quite ungrounded… either too high (“This is the best thing ever! I am unstoppable!”) or too low (“This is the fucking worst. I will never recover from this.”), do the following.
If you are trying to ground yourself in a high, ask yourself, “How could this be a negative in my life? What are the drawbacks to this?”
If you are trying to bolster yourself in a perceived low, ask yourself, “How could this be one of the best things that ever happened to me? What are the hidden benefits of this event?”
Now, based on your unique personality, one of these questions will likely be more valuable to you than the other.
If you are a more depressive/glass-half-empty pessimist, then you’ll need to leverage the ‘benefits’ question more often. If you’re more prone to sensationalistic/magical thinking and often need to be talked down from your hypomanic highs, then the ‘drawbacks’ question will help you stay grounded when you notice yourself start to get carried away with your ungrounded thoughts.
Every event in our lives has benefits and drawbacks, and more often than not, if you’re feeling ungrounded, anxious, or depressed, it’s because you’re focusing too much on one side of the story. Balance it out by playing devils advocate for yourself, and remember a fuller spectrum of what is really going on (or what could be going on).
Alright, these are valuable things I learned from my therapists. I hope that you enjoyed this and got something out of it! And hey, if you didn’t, there’s another 500+ articles to scroll through on this website, so have fun digging around in the archives.