World Kindness Day reminds us to practice kindness in our daily lives through empathy, understanding, and cooperation to create a more harmonious and caring world.
With the raging conflict in the Middle East, this has been more challenging than ever for many people. Yet, here is the perfect opportunity to start your week by reflecting on acts of kindness and goodwill.
On a very personal note, I want to share a bit about my background, history of multiculturalism, and my passion for bridging divides, which I believe is essential to practicing kindness.
My diverse family includes Jewish Americans, Jewish Israelis, Catholic Italians, and Muslim family members too. We have unique relationships with our cultural practices, unique viewpoints, and even unique perspectives on the ongoing conflict. Sometimes we have difficult conversations.
Yet, there is always so much love and caring.
We don’t agree on everything, but we work to listen, hear and support one another. And we all share a dream to see the end of violence and terror everywhere. A dream for people to see the humanity of all involved and, crucially, the humanity of one another.
Today is World Kindness Day… a perfect opportunity to start your week by reflecting on acts of kindness and goodwill.
I believe if we can all practice kindness in our daily lives through empathy, understanding, and cooperation, we will create a more harmonious and caring world.
In that same spirit, I wanted to share with you some grounding exercises that can help you in those moments when the world and the people around you may be overwhelming.
These are exercises that my dear colleague, Susan Schrott, has shared with me before, and they are so relevant for today as well. She is an eating disorder therapist as well as a yoga, meditation, and mindfulness expert, and I hope these help ground you in those moments when you need to bring some balance back to yourself.
Here are 3 Grounding Exercises Susan shared to help get you out of your head when you find your thoughts racing. We also talked through these in a video we did together just after COVID hit, so you can also check that out to learn how to work through these exercises.
Grounding Exercise 1 – Describe what’s around you:
Identify 10 items or objects you see or notice in your environment (Examples: “I see a red glass. I see a paper clip. I see a doorknob. I hear an alarm bell.”)
Grounding Exercise 2 – Deep belly breathing:
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Grounding Exercise 3 – The Butterfly Hug:
- This wonderful technique has a few parts to it:
- Find a comfortable place, seated or standing.
- Take a few deep breaths, in and out, in and out.
- Cross your arms across your chest and tap your shoulders, left, right, left, right.
- You can do this for several minutes, or as long as you need!
- As you tap, alternating shoulders, repeat the following words (called the Metta prayer, or Loving Kindness):
- “May I be safe. May I be healthy. May I be well.”
- “May we be safe. May we be healthy. May we be well.”
Here’s a link to the video where Susan and I go over these exercises.
Grounding yourself isn’t always easy, especially when you feel incredibly stressed out, but with a little practice, you might find some of these techniques very helpful in reducing emotional eating by calming the mind, slowing the heart rate, and increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain.
In this calmer state, you will be better equipped to defuse yourself from negative thoughts and feelings. And maybe add a little kindness to your day and yourself.
Reach out and book a call with me; let’s determine where you are in your food journey, what support you need, and connect you with the dietitian who will help you break free from diet culture.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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