Battling Anxiety? Try These Grounding Techniques
The man in the photo the left would be crazy to do what he's doing if he wasn't grounded first. You’ve heard that if you don’t want to be electrocuted, you need to ground yourself by touching or standing on something that is rubber. If you’ve ever wired a light switch, you know that there is a third wire, the ground that sends rogue electricity into the earth where it can do no harm. This blog will discuss grounding techniques to help battle anxiety.
What is Grounding?
Grounding is using various techniques to pull you out of your head and back into the present moment. Doing so helps you come back from anxieties about the past or future and reconnect to yourself, your body, and mind to the here and now. When you stop and ground yourself, it lessens the fight, flight, or freeze response that comes with an anxiety or panic attack so that you can stop the feeling of being overwhelmed and return to a calm state. It also works with PTSD’s flashbacks and negative thoughts.
Try These Grounding Techniques
There are many grounding techniques that will help you. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, anxious, panicked, or overwhelmed, to return to a calm state, it is important to engage all of your senses into what is happening in the present moment. Here some grounding techniques you can try:
This is simply focused thinking. It is doing things like running water in the tap and concentrating on what the running water sounds, smells, feels like. It is going to your flower garden and breathing in the aroma and thinking about what you smell. It is fixing a sandwich and noticing the taste, smell, and feel of it. Slow yourself down enough to do this exercise slowly and deliberately until you are calm. If your mind wanders, bring your focus back to what you are sensing. Noticing and focusing on these external sensations can quiet your internal racing thoughts and feelings.
Philippians 4:6-7 gives God’s answer to anxiety: “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses comprehension, shall guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Worry and anxiety is talking to ourselves about our problems, which results in more worry and anxiety. Prayer is the opposite of worry. It is talking to God about our problems, which results in God’s peace. What should you pray about? Obviously, whatever you’re anxious about. Take the inward anxiety and turn it upward to God in prayer, asking for Him to supply what you need. But before you do that, remember what Jesus taught about prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. He taught us to begin prayer by focusing on God’s name and character as holy and God’s kingdom coming and His will being done on the earth as it is in heaven. Spend some time focusing on who God is and praising Him for all His wonderful qualities and what He has done in the past for you. Then, with that better frame of mind, bring your requests to Him.
This is a simple exercise that uses your five senses to slow your mind and get you grounded in the present. When you are overwhelmed and your mind and emotions are out of control, stop and name 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. And as you do, meditate and think slowly about each one.
Another way to ground yourself is to breath deeply and slowly and concentrate on your breath. How does it feel going in and out of your nostrils and lungs? What other sensations do you feel? Breath from your diaphragm by expanding your belly as you breathing in for 3 second and then exhale for 7 seconds, suck your belly in. Do this until you feel calm.
When your inner self is out of control, use your outer self – your physical body – to calm it down with exercise. If you have a gym membership, go to the gym. But that’s not necessary. You can take a walk around the neighborhood, ride a bike, take a swim, do some stretches, anything that moves your body will help you get out of your head and back into the here and now.
You can do other things as well, like listening to your favorite music, taking a drive on a country road, coloring, playing with your pet, cuddling with your spouse, anything that refocuses your mind. If you are struggling with anxiety, I urge you to read more about anxiety treatment and then reach out to us at Christian Counseling Associates for an appointment with one of our trained therapists.
Janet Marfisi is a Licensed Professional Counselor with Christian Counseling Associates. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Relations with a minor in Child Development from Texas Tech University and a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Amberton University. She is certified in Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT). Janet is taking new clients.