8 Ways to Get Centered When You Feel Lost.
Everyone feels “lost” every now and again: out of touch with themselves and others, and feeling rudderless in the world. Often, this feeling is the result of a strenuous workload, a personal loss, or life change, but sometimes it’s for no particular reason that you can identify.
For those times when you feel this way, these tricks and tips act as handy shortcuts to get back to feeling centered. From breathing techniques to meditative movement to even treating yourself to a massage or manicure, these tips are meant to bring you back to a connected state by bringing your attention back inward in a nurturing way. Keep this guide handy for when you are feeling lost; it can help you back on your way.
Feeling lost: what causes it. As noted above, there are all sorts of things that could leave you feeling “lost”. Sometimes it is a single thing, such as losing a job or a relationship change, but just as often it is the cumulative result of many small things that might be harder to identify individually. The good news is that this feeling is not uncommon, and that if you feel this way, you’re not alone. Being able to identify that you feel lost is the first step to finding yourself again.
- Make your exhales longer than your inhales. This is an easy breathing technique, but so very effective. Simply breathe out for one or two counts longer than you inhale. For example, inhale for three counts, and exhale for four counts. When you breathe in, a contraction occurs, creating pressure in the body; when you breathe out, the pressure is released, sending a message to your nervous system that you can relax. The slower and more deliberate both the in and out-breaths are, the better.
- Try 20% less. Once, when I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t “get” headstand pose in yoga class while all around me people less experienced were flying up, someone said “why don’t you try 20% less?”. As it turns out, by shaking off the stress and adopting a slightly more carefree attitude, I was able to come to come to a headstand faster, and it was a more enjoyable journey. I also realized I could apply this principle to everyday life. How might you be affected if you tried 20% less? Perhaps the effort you let go of will allow you to relax back into a centered state.
- Make a list of things you love. Make a list of things you’re absolutely certain you adore in the world: your partner, your pet, your home, the tree outside of your house. By surrounding yourself, even mentally, with things that you love, you can become more grounded and centered quickly.
- Take stock of the senses. A few times a day, pause and take stock of what you are feeling–literally. Pause to examine the sensations of all five senses–sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell. Repeat this frequently throughout the day. By pausing to focus on what you are feeling right now, it can bring you back into a place of mindful centeredness.
- Try yin yoga. Yin yoga is a specific type of yoga wherein deep floor stretches are held for extended periods, from as little as two to as many as ten minutes. The idea is that it not only stretches the muscle, but the very connective tissue that wraps around the muscle. This meditative deep stretching can also help unravel knots in your mind, and connect you back with yourself. You will leave refreshed and feeling far more grounded.
- Two words: guided meditation. If you’re feeling lost, chances are you aren’t going to have the ability to proactively pursue a meditation practice. At times like this, guided meditations can act as a great assistant. There are plenty of great guided meditations online that can guide you back to your practice; this post will guide you through the process of metta meditation, which is particularly helpful during times when you feel lost.
- Establish routines. Sometimes, what makes us feel lost is a sense that everything is way too hectic. How can you declare a routine, even if your schedule is manic? Perhaps it could be as little as taking a 20 minute walk each day, reserving 15 minutes to journal after breakfast, or listening to a different guided meditation before going to bed each night. By setting up positive and nourishing rituals, you will feel grounded.
- Make self-care a priority. When you are feeling “lost”, it is all the more important to treat yourself with respect. This means maintaining a good self care regimen. Getting a massage or a manicure, or even buying a new pair of shoes can be loving ways to say “I’m good enough” to yourself. By treating yourself with love and compassion, you will make yourself better able to treat others with love and compassion.
Conclusion: While it’s natural to feel lost at times, these times don’t need to be fraught with fear or depression. By using these times to self-reflect and to turn to meditative and grounding activities, you will establish a routine that will serve you not only to help feel centered again, but will also foster deep healing and personal growth. By taking some time to focus on yourself in a meditative way, you’ll be able to find yourself again and to feel at home in the world.
What helps when you feel “lost”?