11 Ways to Center Yourself

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You know that feeling after a stressful meeting, before giving a speech or after a very long day at work when you want a drink or a whole cake. Have you ever tried centering yourself to relieve that excess energy or replenish it? I need to center myself when I take on too many tasks and begin to feel overwhelmed. But, centering yourself could be useful when you are just being reactive, consumed by negative self talk, or feeling distracted and unable to focus.  

Centering yourself can be a 5 minute task that requires little effort on your part. Gathering your thoughts and putting you back in step with clarity of your goals and true self. Taking a few moments to pause and reset. These exercises below are a good way to release energy that is building, bringing you back to the "center." Some ideas are about refocusing, while others are on releasing excess energy that is preventing the desired focus and clarity.  

1. Conscious Breathing -  It can be a way of refocusing and also a way to make sure you are getting oxygen which can be restricted when we are anxious.  

Option 1: Observe Your Breathe - be aware of what your breathing sounds like. What are the breathes you are taking, deep, shallow, fast or slow.  

Option 2: Take deep slow rhythmic breathes - this can relieve tension while also refocusing the mind on one task. 15 Second Breathe - Breathe in for 5 count, hold for a 2 count, then release for 8 count. This can be very challenging when emotions are higher - but is a very good way to release tension with the long exhale.  

2. Stand Like A Tree - This is to bring your mind to all parts of your body and shift focus. As you attempt to connect and do the exercise you are becoming more aware of your body. When you are doing this exercise attempt to enlongate the spine, really put your weight on your feet, and lift you head to the sky.  

3. Shift Your Awareness - This option will help with focus. An easy way to do this is to stand. focus on your feet and everything they feel: pressure, squished in your shoes, blood pumping, gravity pulling.  

4. Mindful Walking - Similar to observing breathe or shifting your awarensss, the thoughts focus in on the walk. your focus is on the act of walking not what is around you. It's your stride, your arm movement, and your breathe that you focus on. It can be a release of energy as well as a refocusing exercise. 

5. Journaling - I love journaling. I try to do it daily. It is an amazing way to expel excess thoughts every day, in order to come back to your center. I practice the Artist's Way method of doing 3 pages a day, but am not to strict about it. Just start by writing for 15 minutes to get everything out. This can be done daily and help with clarity, focus and creativity.  

6. Sit in the Sun - This exercise, for me,  can be very therapeutic and mind shifting. Sit in the sun, focus only on the sun. How does the sun feel on your skin? How bright is it shining through your eyelids? This shifts all thinking and focus to one thing, my experience in the sun. I sit or stand and feel the heat and am able to come back to my center, usually feeling very greatful for the sun when I am done. 

7. Find Your Physical Center - Stand and place you hands on your stomach, the center of your body. your thoughts and focus are on your stomach/ center of your gravity. Take note of what happens with small movements as your body tries to maintains its balance.  

8. Go Outside - We can become so focused on people and stresses when we are in a room/office/ space that is regulated - heat, light, no breeze. Stepping outside can ignite your senses. Focus on your sense. What changes is your body experiencing? Feeling the wind? Is it colder or hotter? Is there more light or less? 

9. Go For a Walk - This is different than a mindful walk. You are stepping away from a stressful place, situation, or person. It is easier to center yourself when you are not surrounded by what is causing the chaos. During the walk is a good time to release energy and practice another exercise.  

10. Exercise: Stretch, Run, Yoga - This is a way to real ease the excess build up of energy, but at the same time to change your focus to the exercise. Have your mind be absorbed by what you re doing. Are you holding the pose correctly, is your breathe through your nose and out of your mouth? Do you feel your muscles stretch? 

11. Positive Physical Contact - Depending on why you are not centered a hug, hand shake, or a hand on the shoulder could have powerful meaning to you helping you back to center. This can calm thought of fear, and loneliness, or provide safety. 

Clearing my mind and coming back to a peaceful state helps me to calm my anxieties and stresses. Its necessary for when I struggle to make decisions or want to go home and quit for the day. Hopefully some of these exercises will help you center your thoughts. What practices do you take, let me know!

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