Grounding: finding calm in life’s storm
Grounding is a practice that can help you pull away from flashbacks, unwanted memories, and negative or challenging emotions.
Grounding example from Scott Jeffrey
‘’You’re walking barefoot on the beach. Feel the warmth of the sun contacting your skin. Listen to the rhythm of the crashing waves. Smell the ocean wind as it brushes through you. Now, notice your feet. Do you feel a tingly sensation in your feet or legs as a warmth rises up your body? Perhaps you’ve noticed a similar feeling while walking barefoot on the grass. In those moments, you are grounded. It’s one reason many people are drawn to the ocean.’’
According to Scott Jeffrey being ungrounded is a worldwide epidemic and is the root cause of a great deal of human suffering.
A person who is grounded is in control of body and mind. It means being present in your life and dealing with what comes your way every moment. Persons who are grounded are usually calm in stressful situations, because they have coping skills to deal with the storms in life. They keep their cool and are able to assist others who are falling apart.
Many people lack the coping skills to deal with difficult emotions and situations.In times of crisis, they fall apart. It is being ungrounded. Being ungrounded can stem from very bad childhood experiences, traumatic experiences or PTSD. One way of coping is to dissociate – or disconnect from emotions that are difficult to handle, just to get through it. In the moment they feel overwhelmed, unable to calm themselves down or to control thoughts and feelings. Feelings of anxiousness, sweating and panic ensue.
Part of the healing journey is to learn effective grounding techniques that work for you. It is difficult to deal with problems or process trauma while you are ungrounded.
5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety
One of the most common grounding techniques for anxiety is the five senses technique. In this exercise, you will identify things that you can sense with your five senses. This puts you in awareness of your surroundings and can make you feel more connected and in the present.
5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
Anxiety Grounding Techniques
There are a lot of different things that you can do to ground yourself when you are suffering from high anxiety. The list of 21 anxiety grounding techniques was originally published by Kate White, a mental health blogger.
Take in slow deep breaths from your core and breathe out slowly, imagining all of your worry and anxiety leaving your body as you exhale. If it helps, slowly count to 5 in your mind while breathing in.
Trace your hands around the physical outline of your body and just be aware of your existence in the world. This can help you feel more connected to yourself when your anxiety makes you feel disconnected.
Call a Friend
Call a friend and have a chat. The chat can be about literally anything, but you should focus your attention on the conversation at the moment.
Changing your position can also help you be more mindful of your presence in the present. You can do anything from change the way you are sitting, stand up for a few moments, wiggle your fingers or wiggle your toes.
Mindfully Eat or Drink Something
Eat or drink something while focusing only on the sensations you have while consuming it. Is it hot or cold? How does it taste?
Meditation can take many forms. It’s not for everyone, but you might give the various forms of meditation a try before you knock it. Of course, if meditation is just not right for you, you can also zone out to the television or music to calm down.
Writing down what is happening right now at the moment can help you get the feeling of anxiety out of you. Keeping these writings as a journal can help you examine your triggers for your anxiety at a later date.
Take a bath or shower and pay attention to what you are doing and how it feels. Concentrate on the sensations of the water on your skin or the shampoo on your scalp.
Exercise doesn’t have to be planned or extensive. Jump up and down on the spot. Do some quick yoga poses. Go for a walk or ride a bike if you’re able.
Hold Onto Comfort
Hold onto something that you find comforting. It could be a pillow, a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a doll.
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