How Grounding Can Help with Anxiety

You might have heard about grounding but are unsure what it is and how it works. Grounding is a way to reconnect with the present moment and calm you when feeling anxiety and/or panic attacks. Your thoughts may get trapped in the past “I shouldn’t have done that” and can lead to rumination. Or you may get stuck in future focused thinking “what if I get sick and can’t take care of my family? Or What if I lose my job over this mistake?” Grounding shifts you back to the present. It can also help to put space between you and big, difficult to manage emotions.

In my experience as a Therapist I have found grounding to be the most helpful way to manage anxiety. There are several types of grounding you can use. It can help to experiment with different types to see what works best for you.

Mental grounding: If you struggle with focusing on your breath and too many racing thoughts this can be helpful. It involves giving the mind something neutral to focus on instead of anxious thoughts. It can also serve as a redirect away from the anxiety In the moment you can ask your self to name out loud the following: Names of as many Sports teams that you can, do a math equation in your head, Name all the states capitals, and Name your 5 favorite movies of all time.

Physical grounding: Physical grounding can take you out of your head and into your body. This also can act as a distraction and some physical grounding can help relieve tension in the body from stress.

Here are some ways you can do this:

· Place hands in prayer pose, push as hard as you can against your hands, relax, and repeat few


· Sit in a chair with feet on the ground, push your feet into the ground and feel tension in your

legs, hold then release. Repeat.

· Place an ice cube on your wrist for one minute

· Hold a crystal or other smooth rock in your hand and notice the textures, temperature and feel of it

in your hand. If its smooth, squeeze it in your hand and release.

Visual Grounding: By noticing objects, colors and shapes in your immediate space, you are bringing yourself back to the present moment.

You can do this by:

Name 5 objects and 5 shapes in the space around you

Look for 5 different colors you see in your room

Describe a piece of artwork in the room in detail

There are hundreds of different types of ways to use grounding practices to better manage anxiety. Be sure to give each strategy a chance to work and practice a few times to really determine if it works for you. Grounding doesn’t cure anxiety but it can make it much more manageable. The good news is grounding can be used any time and any place which makes it such a helpful and portable coping skill.

Grounding is available for everyone and is so easy to access. Just keep in mind, the more you practice using it the more it will help you!