Grounding techniques are simple quick and easy strategies to help you stay calm and reduce your symptoms of anxiety or panic. There are some really easy ones like counting to 10 or stamping your feet on the ground or holding a familiar soft object. Then there are those that will take a little more time like using visual imagery or keeping a journal of your thoughts, feelings and observations. I’ve put together a list of a few that you might find useful.
- Counting from 1-10 and then reversing from 10-1
- Using a grounding phase like “I’m ok” or “stay calm”
- Focus on your breath. Inhale for a count of six and then exhale to a count of four
- Connect with your senses – name 3 things you can see, hear, smell and touch.
- Visualise yourself walking along a beach and watching the waves wash ashore, or sitting under a tree watching the wind gently blow the branches above you back and forth.
- Go for a walk and notice the things around you, what do you see? hear? smell?
- Stamp your feet on the ground
- Have a shower, bath or go for a swim and feel the water wash over you
- Chew gum, blow bubbles if it’s bubble gum.
- Brush your hair, paint your nails or moisturise your hands or body.
This techniques don’t work for everything but they can be useful in helping quickly and with little to no cost to you. They can often be done without someone knowing why you are doing something or that you are even doing anything at all. I love using the water one, the visual imagery and the breathing one myself. I find the counting one really useful but more in the context of calming my anger (usually when eating dinner with my two young boys). Next time you feel anxious, overwhelmed or a little stressed try one or two of these and see if they can help you.