What is grounding?
Grounding simply means bringing or ‘grounding’ yourself into the present moment. When you are in the present moment you are focusing on the here and now rather than worrying about unhelpful thoughts of the past/ future or unrealistic situations/assumptions. Grounding is a great technique to help in anxious moments because it interrupts the stream of unhelpful thoughts and gives you the time to refocus.
Here are four ways to ground yourself
1. 5 things
5 things is a great way to ground yourself into the present moment. It is easy and all you need to do is think of:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
By bringing you attention to your senses you are making yourself completely present and self aware. This takes you away from and out of your stream of anxious thoughts.
Rooting takes 2-3 minutes and is great when combined with a breathing exercise. To root yourself, simply push your feet down hard onto the ground and imagine sending strong roots down through the floor and the ground right to the centre of the earth. As you imagine this, keep pushing down through your heels and spreading out your toes. When you feel nice and connected, take a minute to practice your favourite breathing exercise and allow yourself to become centered and calm. This simple act of rooting helps you to feel connected to the place around you, safe and secure and on a more spiritual level, connected to the universe and a sense of being part of something bigger than you and your anxiety. Either way, it’s perfect for relaxation and interrupting those anxious thoughts.
There are many simple breathing exercises that are perfect for grounding us into the present moment, but perhaps one of the simplest techniques, is becoming aware of the breath you can feel entering and leaving your nose. To do this, hold your focus on the tip of your nose, and just become aware of the air travelling past this area as you breath in and out. Stay here for a few moments, deepening the breath if that helps, and relax!
4. Body Scans
Body scanning helps you to connect to your body which again draws your attention into the present moment and away from anxiety. Begin at the top of your head, notice how the area feels and if you become aware of any tension, think about what you can do to release that tension. Move down the body spending a few moments on each area. Below are some tips on how to release tension you will most commonly find.
Face: let the eyes drop heavier and drop the jaw open to create space between the back teeth
Neck and Shoulders: Drop the shoulders down away from the ears and imagine creating space between your shoulder blades. Breathe into this area
Chest: slow the breath down by counting to 4 with each inhale and exhale
Stomach: Drop your breath down from your chest into your stomach and breath more deeply from your abdomen, imagine the muscles relaxing and hold your focus here.
So next time you feel anxiety rising, acknowledge it, accept it and choose a grounding technique that will help you float past the feeling.