Grounding Techniques for when Anxiety Strikes

We can all have those moments when we feel especially overwhelmed. For those who struggle with pervasive anxiety, chronic worry, or panic attacks, being able to slow things down can feel almost impossible. Grounding is a practice that can help to do that. Grounding techniques are designed to use distraction as a way to help manage challenging emotions. Here are five grounding techniques that focus on using the senses, or our physical self in order to calm:

  • Deep belly breathing. When we are especially anxious, we are breathing more quickly which can feed the spiral. Diaphragmatic breathing triggers our comfort system as it helps to inhibit anxiety. One way to practice is to place your hand on your belly and begin to take in deep breaths through your nose (about 3 seconds) and exhale through pursed lips (for 6 seconds). Doing this for 2 minutes resets the system.
  • Temperature change. Running cold water over your hands, splashing your face with it. Holding an ice cube. If it is winter, stepping outside and taking in some deep breaths.
  • 5 senses trick. Using the environment around you, label 5 things that you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Doing this exercise can help to bring our body and mind together, distracting our mind from¬† thoughts that are pushing to take over.
  • Go for a walk. The change of scenery will help, so will counting your steps, movement alone does wonders for getting your body and mind working in sync.
  • Pick an anchor object. We may have a difficult moment we just need to get through. An anchor object is a small item that brings you comfort when holding it. It might include a charm on a necklace, a worry ring, a smooth stone, a rosary, a coin. When feeling anxious, it helps to hold the anchor object, reminding yourself of why it brings you comfort.

These grounding techniques are ones that are use our physical senses to help calm our mind. Tomorrow’s post will look at mental techniques that we can use when feeling anxious.

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