How to ground yourself when times get tough

We all have bad days. Some of us have bad weeks or even months. Recently, I went through a tough period of time—twice—during treatments for breast cancer. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of learning how to ground myself so I can stay strong, especially on my down days, the days I need it most. Here are three rock-solid techniques for staying grounded (even on your worst days):

1. Connect with nature. One of the best things you can do for your well-being every single day is to go outside. So … ditch the treadmill and make a point to connect with nature. Breathe in fresh air. Feel the sun on your skin. Take in the beauty of the natural environment all around you. Do some gardening if that’s your thing. This simple step (which also happens to be supported by science) instantly helps us to feel better and is known to lower stress, reduce depression and even boost your immune system. Sunshine, too, also has its share of health benefits, including a wonderful endorphin surge. If you’re like me and you love the sounds of water—crashing waves, trickling streams—it could be you’re feeling positive vibes from all the negative ions being released. (For more, read up on forest bathing.)

2. Meditate. I like to sit with my animals and meditate, but you can meditate any way you wish. It also doesn’t have to take a lot of time, though daily practice definitely provides positive effects on our bodies and minds. The best part is, according to various studies, meditation helps us manage anxiety, depression, stress and the like, all the while improving blood pressure, cellular health, our immune system and more. Next time you find yourself stressed, try these tips for achieving peace through meditation.

3. Work up a sweat. When you’re feeling down, finding the motivation to exercise can be really hard! But sometimes we just have to force ourselves. Find your motivation (perhaps cute new jogging sneakers or the excited tail wags of your pooch) and make it happen. Keep in mind exercise is most likely to happen if you’re doing something you enjoy. So take your dog for a walk, do some yoga poses, go jogging, join a Pilates class, ride your bike to the store or coach your kid’s softball team. Just get those endorphins flowing!

These techniques work great for me. But please share: What are your secrets for staying grounded when times get tough?

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Kathleen Prasad is an entrepreneur, author, educator, spiritual seeker and animal advocate living in beautiful Marin County, California, with her husband, daughter, dog and two horses. She loves being with animals, listening to hip-hop, eating out at vegan restaurants, riding dressage, hiking in the redwoods and traveling the world to meet animal people.

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