"The consciousness of self-mastery... is non-attachment." Yoga Sutras 1.15
Grounding in Your Values ...is a mental skill to help sort out our thoughts and uncomfortable emotions by reconnecting with our authentic selves. Values give meaning to our lives, and provide us with a mental compass for navigating tough times. Your values are what help you make decisions. When we reconnect with our values, we are reconnecting with the intuitive authentic self which allows us to access emotions like joy and contentment. The idea is to use values as a way to understand our thoughts and emotions better, control troubling thought patterns, and change the way we think about a certain situation to realign with our values.
We’ve all likely had the experience of thinking about one thing, and then having a whole conversation in our heads centered around this one idea. Our brain starts using different perspectives, emotions, and memories to create a running commentary on this idea.This running commentary can help us to plan ahead and avoid certain outcomes. It can be useful when we need to make big decisions or when we need to consider other peoples' perspectives. Sometimes, however, these conversations go beyond the means of effectively planning for the future.Our minds may begin drafting worst-case scenarios, repeatedly analyzing past events, or bouncing from one “what if” to another.
It can be challenging to move away from these lines of thinking especially when they hold powerful emotions like anxiety, self-doubt, or shame. Big emotions often cloud our thinking and prevent us from seeing our original line of thought.It’s easy and normal to have one thought or problem become many.Our bodies and minds will work tirelessly to solve this problem by thinking about all possible outcomes and barriers to overcome in an effort to protect us from physical or psychological harm.
One strategy to help restore our bodies and minds back to baseline is using physical grounding techniques, such as breathing techniques or movement, to draw the concentrated energy out of the mind and channel it out through the body.Similar to electric current, our mental energy needs to be dispersed or balanced in order for us to operate efficiently.While the physical grounding process is different, the concept is similar.Learning to mentally ground ourselves involves breaking up the concentrated mental patterns that cause stress to think more fluidly about our problems.
The process of grounding yourself in your values involves two important concepts: one is that *you* are separate from your body, mind, and thoughts, and the second is that *you* can control these parts of yourself.Based on the Samkhya yoga philosophy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, there exits your authentic intuitive self and at the same time, all your thoughts, memories, emotions, and values.These Eastern and Western philosophies both suggest that there is a part of you that has been constant since you were born.Of course, your life experiences will shape a part of who you are, and how you relate to yourself and others, but *you* cannot be broken.Your values and personality can change over time, however some certainly stay the same.During this mental skill, we will focus on the values that you embody today, whether they are new or old.
In essence, the purpose of grounding in our values is to gain a new perspective on our thoughts, not "fix" or get rid of them.Learning how to change the way our relate to our "private events”- our thoughts, emotions, and sensations in your body- is key. Judging these things can only create new commentary and an inner critic. With consistent practice and concentration, one can learn to still thoughts like ripples in a reflection pool, and see them for what they really are. Not only that, but when we calm our bodies, emotions, and moving minds, we are more likely to clearly see ourselves for who we are rather than identify with our racing thoughts or big emotions.