Grounding is one way to cope with how you are feeling when you are having anxious thoughts. Grounding aims to connect you with the present moment because it is often used when someone is experiencing intense flashbacks from traumatic moments. Grounding techniques help to distract you from your thoughts while noticing the present and what is around you. Grounding is subjective. What helps to ground you may not help to ground someone else. Because each person has their own unique experiences, grounding can be done through trial and error to find out what works best for you. You can practice grounding everywhere. It’s also important to practice grounding even when you are not in an anxious moment because it will come naturally when you are in an anxious moment. Grounding takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you are struggling at first. Keep trying different techniques to see what works for you. Here are some different grounding techniques to try.
Feel your body
Noticing your body and the sensations going on within you will help to ground you. You can lay on a hard surface to feel your whole body on the ground. You can also sit outside, feeling the sun on your face and the grass in between your toes. You can also use manipulatives to get in touch with different feelings, such as squeezing playdough or fidgeting with a spinner.
Observe your surroundings
Take a look around. What do you see? Speak out loud to yourself or grab a journal. Say or write down everything that you see. Pick an object around you and describe in great detail everything you’re noticing. Talk or write about the color of the object, the texture of the object, or the shape of the object. Write for as long as you can.
Focus on your five senses
Pick one of the five senses. Do an activity that will activate that sense. Here are some ways you can ground using your senses.
- Put on your favorite television show or movie
- Read a book or magazine
- Do a word-search puzzle
- Light a candle
- Spray essential oils in the room
- Smelling peppermint is meant to have a calming effect
- Listen to your favorite music artist
- Put on a podcast you like
- Call someone you love
- Stick your hands in a bowl of ice water
- Take a hot shower or bath
- Massage your hands and feet
- Grab a piece of chocolate and savor it
- Chew a piece of gum
- Eat your favorite food
Practicing breathing exercises is a good way to ground yourself. Breathe in deeply, then out deeply. Use the 4-7-8 rule of breath — inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. Make sure your breaths aren’t short and shallow, too.
Pinnacle Recovery wants to help you learn how to cope during anxious moments. If you are struggling with coping, give us a call at 1-866-301-0573. We can’t wait to hear from you.