Use Your Feet to Focus Your Brain

The 5-minute Trick to Keep You Motivated and on Track

How do we stay focused all day when there are so many distractions begging for our attention?  There is lots of attention in the media lately about our brain’s tendency to get off track and absorbed into the rabbit hole of our smart phone. The app and phone manufacturers have whole teams of scientists and tech nerds dedicated to capitalizing on the part of our brain that gets addicted to the bright shiny thing that is our phone. They design the phones and the apps to help us be anxious if we aren’t checking our phone every few minutes to see the latest thing that we don’t really need to know. I know that you don’t do that. But I am certainly guilty of responding to that audible signal that I have a new text, email, news flash or someone has just played a word on Words with Friends.

Your Brain and Distractibility

What is a human with a brain that seems to have a mind of its own to do?  There are plenty of strategies that have been written to help you break or moderate your screen addiction. Has anyone been to a Screen’s Anonymous meeting? Is that even a thing? Let me know. Maybe I know someone who could use that.

Back to the challenge. Perhaps you have trained yourself to moderate your distractibility by turning off your phone or your phone’s volume when you are working. Maybe you are like me at night. I put my phone on vibrate only and leave it in another room all night, so I am not tempted to respond to every little beep and notice. Perhaps you and your family have a no screen or no phone zone time in your day together. These strategies all help us to engage in real time, face to face interactions. Here is another strategy from the world of body-oriented psychotherapy and mindfulness.

Your Brain Needs a Body That is Present and Grounded

One powerful way to engage our brain in staying present in the here and now is to involve our body. This easy exercise comes out of the body focused, or somatic, psychotherapy discipline known as Bioenergetic Analysis.

This is a simple grounding exercise that is very powerful. When you use it daily, the grounding or centering effects are cumulative. I do this exercise every day  for 5 minutes. Start with 1 to 2 minutes per day and build from there.

Read the directions below or watch the video here:

https://youtu.be/NXPo3m6n0_c

How to Do the Basic Grounding Exercise

  1. Stand with your feet should width apart and feet facing forward.
  2. Bend your knees slightly.
  3. Bend over and let your upper body hang from your waist.
  4. Let your arms hang down so fingers can touch the floor. (Don’t be concerned if they don’t.)
  5. Let belly, jaw, neck and shoulders be loose and relaxed as you hang down.
  6. Keep your knees bent.
  7. Now breathe slowly with full deep breaths – long slow inhale and exhale.
  8. Stay in the bent over position for 1 to 5 minutes.
  9. When you are ready to stand again come slowly one vertebrae at a time.
  10. Notice how you feel after doing this exercise.

This simple, but powerful exercise helps you move out of your distracted brain for a few minutes. It also helps you get reconnected with your body. When your energy is balanced in body and mind, your nervous system can work more efficiently in a calm state. In a calmer more focused state, you can stay present to what is in front of you and be less distracted.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and try my favorite grounding exercise. What did you think?

Christine J. Harris, M.S., L.M.F.T., C.B.T.

Christine J. Harris, M.S., L.M.F.T., C.B.T.

Christine Harris is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist in Littleton, Colorado. Her specialty is embracing all of you: body, mind, and spirit in the therapy process. She has extensive post-graduate training in Bioenergetic Psychotherapy, a body-centered form of counseling. Contact her about your life’s adventures, misadventures, and desire for a more vibrant life. Email: [email protected] Phone: 720-727-2500.

6 Comments

  1. Lauran on February 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Love this grounding practice! Thank you for sharing!

    • Christine J. Harris on February 14, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Lauren. Glad you found this useful. I keep returning to this one because of its simplicity and power.

  2. Brenda Bomgardner on February 10, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Christine – I might pass out if I did this exercise. At the age of 66, I need a more modified exercise for getting connected to my body and get into the here and now. I like to run through my five senses.

    I notice three things 1) see 2) smell 3) feel 4) hear 5) taste. It’s a mindfulness that works for me.

    I had my granddaughter do your exercise and she had a good time with it.

    Thank you for the clear instructions.

    • Christine J. Harris on February 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you Brenda for this insight! I love the 5 senses reminder. And I shall look at including simple modifications to make this more accessible.

  3. Tamara Suttle on February 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Christine, I continue to be in awe of your understanding of the connection between the body and the brain!

    Thank you for sharing another little snippet of that with all of us and reminding me that I have choices about when, where, and how I place my attention and my intention, too.

    Hope you have a great day!

    • Christine J. Harris on February 14, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Tamara,
      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate how you connected the attention and intention with mind-body connection. Love having smart colleagues!

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