What are grounding techniques and how do they help with anxiety? Grounding techniques are coping strategies that help you focus on the here-and-now and what is in front of you at the present moment.
Grounding helps break up the thoughts in your brain that are causing you to feel anxious. All of us find ourselves worried about the future or replaying something from our past over and over again. There are many different grounding techniques to help calm down your anxiety.
Here are 6 of my favorites that I recommend to clients as well as use myself:
#1 Technique: 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique is popular for a reason because it works. It uses all 5 of your senses to bring you back to your environment. First, take one slow deep breath. Next, look for 5
things you can see around you. It can be anything as long as you really notice what you are seeing.
Now, become aware of 4 things you can touch. Maybe you notice the texture of the shirt against your arm or the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. Reach out and touch something in your environment and notice the sensation on your skin.
Next, acknowledge 3 things you can hear- the dog barking outside, the traffic whizzing past in the distance or the ticking of a clock. Now it’s time to notice 2 things you can smell. You may feel like you can’t smell anything but try to notice the smell of the air or the subtle smell of your clothing.
Lastly, become aware of one thing you can taste.
#2 Technique: Get that body moving
If you know me, you know I’m all about exercise and moving that bod of yours to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Walk around the block, stretch, do some jumping jacks, or clean part of your house or office.
Notice the sensations in your body as you move- your feet moving on the ground, your breath as you inhale and exhale, the rhythm of your heart rate if it begins to rise.
#3 Technique: List positive things
Sit down and make a list of the positive things in your life. If you are feeling especially anxious, it may feel impossible, but I promise there are positive things present. Maybe you are thankful for the organs in your body that sustain you, for your 5 senses- your sense of taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight.
Maybe you have gratitude for the wonders of nature nourishing you and the abundance of food, water, trees, air, flowers, and birds surrounding you. I also imagine there are people in your life who bless you with their presence. Who are those people?
#4 Technique: Listen to uplifting music
I love music and its many benefits. Numerous scientific and psychological studies have shown that music can lift our moods and lower levels of stress-related hormones such as cortisol that causes anxiety.
Throw on some favorite tunes. Really listen and pay attention to the lyrics and instruments being played. Dance around your environment if you feel like it!
#5 Technique: Mindfully eat or drink something
The options are endless! Sip some hot tea or hot water with lemon and honey (my personal favorite). Savor a favorite piece of candy or peppermint. Crunch on some raw, flavorful fruits or vegetables and notice how it feels in your mouth. Eat slowly and relish the flavors.
#6 Technique: Smell a favorite scent
Aromatherapy often gets overlooked, but there are great benefits such as lowering anxiety. Sit and smell a scent such as a favorite perfume.
Light a fragrant candle or put a favorite lotion on your hands and take in the calming and soothing odor. Turn on that diffuser that you rarely use. Lemon, lavender, and jasmine are great scents that calm the mind and body.
If you live in the Orlando, FL area, give Allison a call at Life Counseling Solutions at 407-622-1770 to schedule an appointment. She also offers 15 minute free phone consultations to answer any questions you may have about the psychotherapy process.
Allison Petro is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in couples, women’s issues, treating depression holistically, and children. For more information about the author visit her full bio here.