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Top Grounding Techniques for Anxiety

Grounding Techniques for Anxiety

Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick strategies (like taking three deep “belly breaths”) or longer, more formal exercises (like meditation). Different methods work for other people, and there is no “wrong” way to ground yourself. The main aim is to keep your mind and body connected and working together.

People who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault can sometimes be confronted by flashbacks or intense memories of what was done. They feel as if they are back there, reliving the abuse all over again. A flashback is an example of being in the “there and then” rather than the “here and now,” so grounding exercises can help to bring you back.

Grounding is an effective way to calm anxiety during a panic attack. In this process, you identify objects around you to help your brain recognize where you are. This creates a sense of comfort because you know where you are and feel more in control of the situation. Combine this with anxiety attack breathing exercises, and you should be feeling better in no time. Here are some grounding techniques you may learn in anxiety treatment. 

Everybody responds to stress in different ways and, if you do relate to any of the above, it is a sign that your stress levels are too high. Putting up with too much for too long can impact all areas of your life – your career, your relationships, and your health.

Stress is where you find it hard to cope with all the demands you face in life; this could be overload or conflict or too much change and uncertainty. The world we live in is called VUCA in some circles: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. So no wonder people are stressed. A little stress is good because it gives you energy and motivation. But if you are suffering from negative anxiety for too long, this is where things can be damaging.

Grounding techniques help control these symptoms by turning attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries, and refocusing on the present moment.
Grounding techniques help control these symptoms by turning attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries, and refocusing on the present moment.

It is an inconvenient truth that the longer you leave it, the more helpless you may feel. So, tackling the problem sooner rather than later with the help of a professional can help you navigate life’s stressors so that the little things don’t become the big things, and you are coping with life more quickly, enjoying the good times more. By choosing integrative hypnotherapy for stress management, you can transcend stress more efficiently. And if you are already in a dark place with your anxiety, pick up the phone now.

Grounding is an effective way to calm anxiety during a panic attack. In this process, you identify objects around you to help your brain recognize where you are. This creates a sense of comfort because you know where you are and feel more in control of the situation. Combine this with anxiety attack breathing exercises, and you should be feeling better in no time. Here are some grounding techniques you may learn in anxiety treatment. 

After a trauma, it’s normal to experience flashbacks, anxiety, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Grounding techniques help control these symptoms by turning attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries and refocusing on the present moment. In this article, you will learn four powerful grounding techniques for managing trauma symptoms.

Five Senses of Grounding Techniques for Anxiety

Grounding techniques often use the five senses—sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight—to immediately connect you with the here and now. For example, singing a song, rubbing lotion on your hands, or sucking on sour candy are all grounding techniques that produce sensations that are difficult to ignore or distract you from what’s going on in your mind.

This helps you directly and instantaneously connect with the present moment. At the same time, grounding reduces the likelihood that you will slip into a flashback or dissociation.

How you ground, yourself is highly personal. What works for one person may trigger anxiety or flashbacks in another. You may need to do some trial and error to figure out what grounding techniques work best for you. Pay attention to the coping mechanisms you’ve already developed to help you get through flashbacks and anxiety and see if you can build on them and use them as grounding techniques.

Grounding techniques for anxiety allow you to get back in touch with reality and keep your anxious thoughts under control.
Grounding techniques for anxiety allow you to get back in touch with reality and keep your anxious thoughts under control.

Adults could all benefit from learning a few more ways to calm down their bodies and minds when negative emotions start to take over. These skills are often called self-regulation or grounding techniques. It’s the process the brain goes through that allows for control over behaviors and emotions in response to particular situations. It’s holding the skills to calm oneself down when feelings start to rise, adjust expectations, and handle frustration without needing an outburst, including using the body to hurt others. When people can listen to others, keep their bodies to themselves, and pause before reacting, they practice self-control.

Most often, self-regulation is a foundation skill learned in early childhood. If we teach children strategies to stay calm in upsetting or stressful situations, they start to develop habits they can continue to use throughout their lives. Fortunately, we can learn new skills and techniques at any age with an open mind and desire for change. These techniques revolve around using the five senses of touch, taste, smell, hear, and see to ground oneself. Below are two grounding exercises that ask kids and adults to utilize their five senses to stop negative emotions from overwhelming them.

To connect with the here and now, do something (or several things) that will bring all your attention to the present moment. Be sure to keep your eyes open while you’re grounding yourself, so you’re aware of everything that’s going on around you.

If you notice that you’re slipping into a flashback or a dissociative state, try some of these grounding techniques.

1. Smell

  • Get some essential oils that remind you of good times (freshly cut grass, rain, clean laundry, or sugar cookies, for example) and smell one.
  • Light a scented candle or melt scented wax.
  • Sniff strong peppermint, which also benefits having a soothing effect.3 

4. Sound

  • Call a loved one.
  • Put on some natural sounds such as birds chirping or waves crashing.
  • Read out loud, whether it’s a favorite children’s book, a blog post, or a novel.
  • Talk out loud about what you see and hear, or what you’re thinking or doing.4
  • Turn up the radio or blast your favorite song.

2. Sight

  • Complete a crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search, or another puzzle.
  • Count all the pieces of furniture around you.
  • Play a distracting game on your tablet, computer, or smartphone.
  • Put on your favorite movie or TV show.
  • Read a book or magazine.
  • Take a mental inventory of everything around you, such as the colors and patterns you see, the sounds you hear, and the scents you smell. Saying this out loud is helpful too.

5. Taste

  • Bite into a lemon or lime.
  • Let a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth, noticing how it tastes and feels as you roll it around with your tongue.
  • Suck on a mint or chew peppermint or cinnamon gum.
  • Take a bite of pepper or some hot salsa.

3. Touch

  • Cuddle and pet your dog or cat if you have one.
  • Drink a hot or cold beverage.
  • Grab an article of clothing, a blanket, or a towel and knead it in your hands or hold it to your cheek. Concentrate on what it feels like.
  • Hold an ice cube and let it melt in your hand.
  • Massage your temples.
  • Pop some bubble wrap.
  • Put your hands under running water.
  • Rub your hand lightly over the carpet or a piece of furniture, noting the texture.
  • Take a hot or cool shower.

Other

  • Dance.
  • Go for a walk or run.
  • Send a letter or card to someone you care about.
  • Sit in another room or area for a change of scenery.
  • Stretch your arms, neck, and legs.
  • Take ten slow, deep breaths.
  • Write in a journal about how you’re feeling or keep a list of prompts handy that you can use to decide what to write about.

How Do Grounding Techniques Help Reduce Anxiety?

Let’s say you’ve had an unpleasant experience with public speaking. Perhaps you were humiliated by your teacher in front of the whole class. Or maybe you forgot your lines in the middle of a school play, and you left the stage feeling ashamed.

Now you work at a sales company, and you must deliver product presentations in front of potential clients. The stakes are high, and you don’t want them to leave disappointed or confused.

However, the minute you walk in the room, your palms get sweaty, you begin to feel slightly dizzy, and everything seems ‘unreal.’ The more you focus on your anxious thoughts, the more disconnected you feel from everything that’s going on around you.

It’s tough to deliver a fluent presentation and create a connection with your audience when anxiety keeps you trapped in a never-ending circle of catastrophic scenarios.

And that’s why you need to re-establish a connection with your surroundings; to leave worries in the back of your mind and ground yourself in the ‘here and now.’

Using your five senses, you can anchor yourself in the present moment by focusing on sensations that are hard to ignore. For instance, the touch of your pen slowly gliding on a piece of paper, the sound of people talking on their phones or typing on their computers, the smell of fresh coffee.

The more connected you are with your surroundings, the less likely you are to lose yourself in anxious thoughts and end up having a nervous breakdown[3]. Furthermore, grounding techniques can also reduce the likelihood of flashbacks and dissociation.

Before you try these strategies, keep in mind that grounding is a profoundly personal practice. In other words, what works for some might not work for others. And that’s why it’s crucial to experiment with several techniques (and senses) before you find the ones that work best for you.

Grounding Techniques Can Be Done Anywhere

The nice thing about grounding is that many can be done in any environment. You might be home alone or out in public, but once you feel that flashback or dissociation coming on, you can use grounding to move your focus back to the present.

Working on grounding takes dedication, and it becomes easier over time. Try something else if these particular grounding techniques don’t work for you. For example, some people find that a rubber band on their wrist helps snap them back to the moment. The ultimate goal is to live now and focus on the present when the past starts coming up.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is a common disorder that affects about 18 percent[1] of adults in the United States. Immersing yourself in your senses may help reduce symptoms of stress and worry.

You can follow simple exercises that activate your five senses — sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. For example, simply listening to birds chirping or smelling fresh-cut grass could help you focus less on your anxious thoughts and more on the present moment.

If you’re having difficulty managing your anxiety, you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health expert. They can provide you with additional tools to manage your symptoms and discover the root cause of the anxiety[2].

At We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information about grounding techniques for anxiety and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

Sources

[1] Adaa.org – https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Did%20You%20Know%3F,of%20the%20population%20every%20year.

[2] Psychcentral – https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/getting-to-the-root-of-your-anxiety/

[3] Happier Human – https://www.happierhuman.com/nervous-breakdown/

[4] Mass Gov – https://blog.mass.gov/publichealth/mental-wellness/relax-with-the-help-of-your-5-senses/#:~:text=During%20times%20of%20stress%2C%20relief,relief%20in%20a%20hectic%20world.