A friend asked if I had any recordings of my guided meditation, and I didn’t, but it inspired me to Google how to make a video and post it, and here it is on first take: a brief guided meditation for grounding and calming. This is the meditation I provide when clients are feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
The basic principle is to focus your attention on something pleasant or neutral in the foreground of your awareness and let everything else fall to the background. If your attention wanders somewhere else, that’s fine, just notice where it has gone, and then gently bring your attention back to whatever you have chosen to focus on.
There are three stages: first, starting with the contours of pressure of the body sitting on the chair and the soles of your feet on the floor and then adding in whatever your hands are touching if you like; second, attending to the breath wherever you happen to feel it; and, third, opening your awareness to your whole physical presence and whatever particular sensations you are drawn to, and including sound if you like.
If you find you like one of these stages more than the others, than feel free to focus on that. Or you might find you prefer a different object of attention, for example, sometimes people listen to the HVAC system in a room, or you could imagine your dog or favourite person is in front of you, or you could imagine you are in a favourite place and bring that alive in your imagination.
Before choosing to do a calming meditation, you might check in with yourself whether you are emotionally overwhelmed or if you are in fact dissociating. Dissociation is associating with trauma, it can feel numb, spacey, or out of your body. This is a way of being overwhelmed but one where we are shutting down rather than getting over-aroused, and it might be more helpful to focus on gently stimulating your senses rather than trying to calm yourself. You could open your eyes, look around the room, and really take in the colours and the forms. You could gently slap your legs and really feel your body on the chair and your feet on the floor. Invite yourself into the core of your body. Once you are feeling you are back in your body, you could do some calming meditation by focusing your attention on something pleasant or neutral like the breath and letting everything else fall to the background.