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5 Grounding Techniques To Make You Less Anxious

When I think about grounding, I think about the punishment I received as a child. "Go to your room, you're grounded!"

Although true, my previous definition of grounding is not the one I still use.

In mental wellness, grounding is a coping strategy used to help you reconnect to the present moments, aiding in self- regulation when you are feeling an overwhelming emotion and when you are stressed or anxious.

I guess when I was grounded as a kid, my parents were trying to give me time to relax and reset, similar to this exercise!

Picture taken by Practice Director, Talisa Haskins: Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Here are 5 effective grounding techniques to try when you are anxious or overwhelmed:

1. HALT :

HALT stands for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness.

Use this acronym to check in with yourself regularly and ask yourself how you are feeling in these four categories.

This technique helps bring you awareness to what you are feeling in the present moment and tends to what you may be needed.

2. 5-4-3-2-1 :

The aim of this grounding technique is to help bring all 5 of your senses to the present moment.

When you are trying this technique try to find:

  • 5 things that you can see around you. Notice their colour, shape and size.

  • 4 things that you can touch around. Notice their texture, temperature and feeling against your skin. and name them

  • 3 things that you can hear around you. Notice their volume, pitch or sound.

  • 2 things you can smell around you. Notice the scent, is it strong, sweet or sour?

  • 1 thing you can taste in this present moment. Notice the feeling on your tongue and in your mouth. Does it taste good?

3. Get into your body.

Lay on the floor and try pressing every part of your body into the ground like play dough. Scrunch and soften your muscles. Squeeze your toes and your fists and then relax. Take a few moments to really notice your body. How is it moving? How is it feelings? Where are you holding tension?

4. Observe.

Pick an object in your surroundings and focus on it. Observe its colour, texture, form, size, weight, shadow.

Look at a picture, like the one above. What colours do you see? Does it make you calm or peaceful?

5. Breathe

This sounds silly because we have to breathe to stay alive. Take a few deep breaths with intention. Notice your belly move as you inhale, and your chest squeeze as you push out every bit of air.

Try this technique: 4-7-8 breathing (or box breathing). Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.


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