Grounding is an excellent technique that can help calm you down and bring you back to reality after experiencing a panic attack, a high stress situation, or if you are simply feeling anxious. Research shows that grounding has positive impacts on mood, and helps reduce pain too. When you ground yourself, you’re trying to focus on your physical surroundings rather than the upsetting thoughts circulating in your mind. Grounding is bringing your mind to the present world. It’s recognizing the intrusive or distressing thoughts and letting them pass, through concentrating your focus on what’s presently happening around you. Of course, this is all easier said than done which is why we have many strategies for grounding.
Water is one of the best ways to help calm you down if you’re experiencing a distressing episode. You can splash it on your face, drink it, let your hands run through the sink, simply watch it run or you can even immerse yourself in it by taking a warm bath or shower (unless of course your preference is a cold temperature). Now you may be wondering how water can help you when you’re in a state of panic. In fact, science tells us that the relaxation we feel around water actually goes back to our biological roots. Our brains have an instant response when near water. While many of us don’t have the privilege of living near a beach, we can still feel calmness from the simple sound of a sink running or even drinking a cool glass of water. On the other hand, the act of splashing water on your face helps switch your focus from what was making you anxious. It’s ultimately a shock to your nervous system, and in a way activates your senses which is essentially what grounding is.
Stepping out into nature is a great way to ground yourself. You can take your socks off and let your feet feel the texture of grass, or if the weather is too cold for this, simply stand outside and pay attention to what’s happening around you. Notice the sound of the wind, the branches swaying, the coldness snow holds, the sun shining, or the shapes of the clouds which you can also count. Nature is where many of us feel at ease, and is again another way to calm our minds, bringing us back into reality. It allows us to be present with what’s around us, and appreciate beauty our world has to offer.
We’re not suggesting you run ten miles, but try some light exercise such as five push ups or ten jumping jacks. You can even do stretches or practice yoga. There are many wonderful videos on Youtube that can help guide you through these exercises which we’ll have listed below. The chemicals that are released when we get our bodies moving can have many beneficial effects for feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. It’s another way to distract the distressing feelings you experience as your focus is now drawn to your body and movements.
Grounding Into Gratitude Yoga Routine
Listening to your favourite song or playlist that helps bring you relax is another form of grounding. Perhaps, the sound of rain or classical music helps. It is scientifically proven that listening to music decreases stress and anxiety by 65% which is a significant result.
5) Play a memory game
Try listing all the provinces you know, countries you’ve been to, your favourite foods, colours, or what you ate for dinner the past week. The act of using our memory works as a great distraction from current stresses and encourages you to focus on the present, in order to answer the question(s). It also helps to show you that you’re not losing your sanity and that your brain still functions perfectly fine if you find yourself overwhelmed.
6) Place your focus on an object
Find an object with an interesting texture nearby. A smooth stone or crystal-like item is a great example. Simply place all your focus onto that object, and use your sense to feel the smoothness of the stone. Use your vision to identify the colours and different patterns. This forces you to bring your attention to something else other than the intrusive or upsetting thoughts in your mind.
7) The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method
You may have heard of this common technique many use when grounding. What you do is point out five things you can visually see around you, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell and one you can taste. In fact, go ahead and touch the items, smell a candle, or piece of fruit, pay attention to the sounds around you even if they’re small. Just like the other techniques listed, focusing on these items decreases anxiety, as you become drawn to focus on the present world.
Ultimately, grounding is a great practice to bring into your life and can have tremendous benefits in times of stress, and can even be used when experiencing an anxiety or panic attack.