Keeping Yourself Grounded Amid Anxiety

Grounding is one of the most effective ways to calm yourself down. Whether you are having an anxiety attack, a panic attack, or are experiencing traumatic memories, grounding techniques can help you stay in the present moment. These techniques aim to create a sense of comfort and help you to feel more in control. It helps to identify objects, visualize a calm environment, or use your senses, so your brain recognizes that you are in the present moment. Keeping your mind occupied is essential so that you are able to keep your thoughts under control. 

When we experience anxiety, it is easy for our thoughts to race or for our hearts to beat faster. Our hands may be clammy, and we may feel trapped in our environment or our circumstance. Awareness of the body and the environment is essential to begin the de-escalation process. Learning grounding techniques to help you in the de-escalation process will help you get through these challenging times. This article will discuss three of the most beneficial grounding techniques. Whenever you find yourself struck by anxiety, pull out one of these bad boys.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing sounds simple, but it is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of anxiety. The next time you’re feeling anxious, relax your shoulders, drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth, and notice if your body is tense. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Notice the way your stomach or your chest rises and falls with each breath. Put your hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach, and watch both of them rise. See which one rises higher, and be present with this sensation. Sometimes it helps to get a straw and to exhale through it. Take a deep breath, and when you let your breath go, release the air through the straw. If you are feeling antsy, chewing on the straw can help too.

Imagery and Visualization

Imagery and visualization are powerful techniques that can help unwind our pent-up state. When experiencing a panic attack, our mind tends to hyper-fixate on the worry and the fear at that moment. If we can remove ourselves from the situation and picture our happy place, we can gain our peace back. 

Visualization works to expand our ability to rest and relax by focusing our minds on more calming and serene images. It helps create your “happy place” when you are in a calm mindset, before sleep or when you wake up. Many people find it helpful to think of something from their childhood. If you have fond memories of going to the lake with your parents or grandparents, going to a park and having a picnic, or even watching a movie cuddled up on your couch, these can be helpful memories to come back to when you are experiencing anxiety. Some people find it beneficial to think of a place they’ve never been to. This could be in the middle of a forest where there’s a patch of sunlight, and there are daisies all around you. This could be the beach in Turks and Caicos or a hot tub in a high-rise in Los Angeles. Think of a place that comforts you best and all of the peaceful feelings you have associated with it. Think of the weather, and if the wind is blowing on your face or the sun is beating down. This safe place that you think of should have all of the components that bring you the most joy and the utmost peace. Maybe your best friend is there, or your dog, or your entire family. Perhaps you are alone, but whatever it is, make sure the environment contains the least amount of stress. The peaceful place you imagine is a resource that you can use when you need a reminder to destress and be calm.

Use Your Senses

Using the five senses as a resource for when you have anxiety can be incredibly helpful. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is popular for people with prevalent panic attacks. First, pick five things that you can see. You can look around at five things that you can see and start explaining them, such as the weather or an object. Next, pick four things you can touch. This could be your clothing, a nearby table, or an animal. Focusing on the texture of various objects also helps stay in the present moment. Rub your fingers over the material, and try to block out any other stimuli. The process of touching and feeling something can help to ground and refocus your thoughts to the present moment. The next step is to pick three things you can hear and close your eyes to focus on the sound. A resource for the sense of sound is calming music, the sound of birds chirping outside, or the faint lull of restaurant conversation. For taste, pick two things that you can eat. Candy, mints, or gum are helpful for the burst of flavor that they bring. Taste is an excellent grounding technique because of the immediate reward the body receives from the taste buds. The last one is one thing that you can smell. You can use this sense by smelling your perfume, essential oils, or even food. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique can be used virtually anywhere. If you are experiencing panic attacks out of the blue, try this technique, and you will undoubtedly feel grounded afterward.  

Grounding techniques are beneficial for everyone. These techniques are helpful if there is a stressful situation or uncomfortable event. If you experience the symptoms of anxiety attacks or panic attacks, these resources may be very useful to you. Grounding works to center an individual by using the present moment as a guiding factor. Deep breathing helps to refocus someone’s attention from the external world to the internal world, where the body is consuming oxygen. Imagery uses the stored memory of an individual so they can go to their safe place. The five senses grounding technique involves all of the senses for an enhanced presence in the current moment. If you would like more information regarding mental health services and resources, SokyaHealth would be happy to help. We provide holistic mental health services for Southern California, Oregon, and Alaska regions. To schedule a free consultation with SokyaHealth, contact us today at 866-932-1767.

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