As social beings, we relish the company of others and enjoy spending time in nature. But once, every now and then, we may experience unfortunate situations that negatively affect our lives and disconnect us from our surroundings. For example, we may get caught up in the anxiety of a past event or stress about our future and lose ourselves in the spiral of our thoughts.
But it’s normal to experience flashbacks and signs of anxiety and stress after an overwhelming or traumatic experience. With the advanced coping methods that scientists have created, there are ways in which you can combat anxiety and stress while you strive for better days.
Grounding Reconnects You To Your Present
Grounding is a conscious effort to stop yourself from disappearing into your mental maze.
Grounding techniques help us manage the intensity of strong negative emotions or trauma from past experiences by reconnecting to the present moment. Grounding is known to be an instant mood lifter. It temporarily relieves symptoms of various mild mental health disorders too.
These techniques are incredibly beneficial for people with anxiety or PTSD. For example, someone experiencing a traumatic flashback or a panic attack would find it easier to stay in touch with their surroundings with the help of grounding. By focusing on the present moment, a person can detach from their distress, become aware that they are safe and in control, and instantly start to feel calmer.
Grounding techniques are easy to understand and implement; they can be put into regular practice by anyone to build a healthy lifestyle. Grounding can be used extensively; it works well for recent experiences and flashbacks from past trauma.
When Can Grounding Help You?
Grounding can be used to help create a mental space from nearly any distressing situation, but it is beneficial to manage symptoms of:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It is important to remember that anyone can use grounding without having any symptoms of mental health disorders. We all need to reorient our energies every once in a while, and grounding is a good way to go about it!
It would be helpful to think of grounding as first aid, not as a replacement for therapy. It can work as a make-shift solution to manage distress quickly, but you will still need to consult a mental health professional to address your underlying issues.
The Manual of Grounding Techniques
These grounding techniques use our five senses to detach from stress and anxiety to keep us connected to the present moment. You can quickly implement them by making use of objects around you. Sit back and tune into yourself as you apply the following methods:
1. The 5-4-3-2-1 Method
Try to notice the little things in the environment that you may have overlooked otherwise. You can start by listing
- five things you see;
- four things you can hear;
- three things from around you that you can touch;
- two things you can smell;
- one thing you can taste.
2. Get Into the Elements!
You can run cold or warm water over your hands and notice the difference in the temperature. Or hold an ice cube in your palm and observe how long it takes for it to start melting, along with the various sensations you feel.
Eat something in a savouring way: fully experience the food; describe the aroma, texture, flavours, and garnishing in detail to yourself; or touch objects in your surroundings while noticing their textures, colours, etc. You can also tune into your sense of smell—smell flowers, air fresheners, or even books and see how you react to them.
P.S: Some people have benefited from hearing traffic noises too!
3. Take a Deep Breath
Box breathing is a technique to slow down your breathing, calm and centre yourself.
Sit upright in a chair or on the ground in a comfortable position and follow these steps:
- Slowly exhale at the count of four;
- Close your eyes and inhale at four counts;
- Hold your breath for four counts;
- Exhale at the count of four.
4. Tune Into Your Body’s Messages
Your body is your biggest well-wisher, so pay attention to the signals it sends you and acknowledge them. Self-awareness is the key to lasting change! Focus on how your body feels from head to toe. For example, notice the feel of your hair on your shoulder/forehead or the feel of the floor against your feet.
5. Shake It Off
Sometimes all your body needs is to leave those spiralling thoughts behind and get out of that chair. Move your body; stretch and extend your fingers, arms, and legs as far as you can; and then slowly and gently roll your head around. Clench and release your fists. Jump up and down or simply take a short walk while noticing the pace and rhythm of your footsteps.
Mental grounding is a self-soothing skill you can use to distract yourself. It is useful, especially when you are in unfamiliar surroundings and can’t access anything around you. Consider trying these out.
1. Think in Categories
Choose one or two categories of your favourite things to list. Try to think of as many as possible, be it movies, cars, books, or celebrities - what were the seven dwarfs in Snow White called? How many Harry Potter movies are there in all? Can you name them?
Pro tip- You can take inspiration from your childhood game of “name, place, animal, thing”.
2. Recital Time!
Reawaken the bathroom singer in you as you recite any song/poem or book passage you know by heart. Of course, it would be more helpful if you said it aloud and heard yourself simultaneously, but mentally recalling it also works!
3. Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Humour is a widely used coping mechanism to deal with grief and trauma. For example, thinking of something funny to jolt yourself out of the blues or even just engaging in the physical act of smiling is known to improve your mood.
4. Awaken Your Inner Storyteller!
Pick an everyday activity and break it down in great detail in a podcast, recording or journal. If you enjoy cooking, narrate the recipe of a dish or explain to your plants how you change the flat tyres on your car!
Commitment Is Key to Healthy Living
To make grounding an essential part of your mental health care routine, you ought to commit to it and be patient with the results. A little effort every day can make a big difference! Connect with us to find out more about grounding 🙂
Grounding may work wonders for several distressing symptoms, but it is not the only solution. If you think you have some underlying issues that can be worked on, you have come to the right place! We at Heart It Out would love to assist you in your mental health journey if you give us a chance! We believe in prompt action and offer 24/7 services, virtually and in person.
Take care and Heart It Out with us!
tine, you ought to commit to it and be patient with the results. A little effort every day can make a big difference! Connect with us to find out more about grounding 🙂
Take care and Heart It Out with us!
“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.” - Ivan NuruSeek Support Now