Anxiety affects us all in different ways. Some may experience intense anxiety attacks, which require medical attention, while others might just feel overwhelmed with situations and need rest. No matter the intensity, each experience is valid and should be treated as such.
Grounding is a technique that helps diffuse the tension spanning from anxiety, PTSD, or other mental conditions. It’s therapeutic and helps bring the individual back to the present while diverting attention away from the overwhelming thoughts and numbing feelings during an anxiety attack.
Here are five ways you can ground yourself when anxious. These grounding techniques can be physical or mental. For the physical aspect, you can:
- Put your hands in cold water. The cool feeling of water helps jolt the individual from the overwhelming thoughts, giving something else to focus on, like the feeling of the water between fingertips.
- Go for a walk. Anxiety attacks can be crippling. Rather than balling up in a corner, go for a walk or even a run if you’re able. Count your steps or your breaths to level out your breathing pattern and concentrate.
Some mental grounding techniques include:
- Memory games. Playing a memory game when anxious will keep you grounded and leveled while returning you into the present. You can name cities you’ve been to, dog breeds you like, or even reciting the alphabet backward.
- Reaffirm yourself: Words of affirmation can go a long way in keeping you grounded during anxiety attacks, but the trick is you’ll have to say them out loud to yourself. Try something along the lines of ‘I am safe,’ ‘This feeling will pass,’ or ‘I am strong.’
- 54321 technique. This grounding technique involves:
- Naming five objects you can see in the room you are, e. g table, stapler, etc.
- Four things you can feel in that moment like the wind in your hair or the sun on your face.
- Three things you can hear like cars honking or dogs barking.
- Two things you can smell like perfume or your meal.
- One great thing about yourself e.g., “I am strong.”
Anxiety will have you blacking out on a stage or freezing at a job interview. It can get really scary. However, there’s a quick way you can get reoriented, and using these techniques will help you find balance.