Where’s The Ground??
Feeling disconnected from what’s happening around you? Don’t recognize yourself well in the mirror? Overwhelmed and anxious? Try some grounding techniques to get you back in tune with your body, mind, and environment. It’s best to practice these exercises ahead of time, so you’re already a pro when feeling destabilized.
Exercise #1: Breathe
If there are no actual threats the run from, but everything is racing and it feels like the last thing you have time for is deep breathing, it’s probably time to do some deep breathing.
1. Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your abdomen.
2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth (make a whooshing sound like the ocean as you breathe out, if possible).
3. Taking deep belly breaths instead of short chest breaths will help signal the body to calm.
4. Breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in (for example, 4 seconds of breathing in and 8 seconds of breathing out).
Exercise #2: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
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?
Smith, S. (2018, April 10). 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique for anxiety.
Exercise #3: Get curious
Look around you and get curious- Why does my light switch not have a dimmer function? What would my window look like with vertical blinds instead of the present horizontal ones? Why did
the makers of my computer plug decide to make it 3-prong instead of 2? Getting curious about the world around us helps to kickstart the thinking parts of our brain when it is checking out.
Exercise #4: Make/utilize a grounding kit
Ahead of time, fill a container of some sort with all different types of items that can stimulate the senses. Fragranced hand lotion, fidget spinner, gum/mints, musical instrument (egg shaker remix,
anyone?), heavy rock or stone. When feeling disconnected or anxious, feel free to open the box and use these items to allow you to become more aware of the world around you.
Exercise #5: Cold front
Splash cold water on your face; put a frozen water bottle on the back of your neck; place a cold damp wash cloth on your forehead: whatever helps you feel the cold for a few seconds at a time.