With an increase in mental diseases and the awareness of mental health increasing, a term that we often come across is grounding. Is it really possible to ease things like anxiety or depression with grounding techniques?
While to many, it may sound like yoga mumbo jumbo, it is an amazing way to find your way back if you’re going through immense stress. I have often experienced panic attacks that have lasted more than 30 minutes in which I could hardly breathe, clawing at my chest and alone in a bathroom. With life getting faster and faster every minute, I know I’m not the only one who loses control of reality from time to time.
Below are five grounding techniques that will prove effective for anxiety and daily stress.
Not only have they helped with my anxiety, but they have also helped in my transformation.
1. The Five Senses Rule
When things started getting out of hand at places like work, I had to come up with something that would prevent me from having a breakdown at work. It was then that I came across the five senses rule. Whenever I sensed a panic attack coming up, I started to focus on my senses.
I focused on one thing that I could see, such as my hands trembling. Then on something I could feel, such as the ground beneath my feet. Then something I could taste whether I was just the after taste of my gum or something I just ate. Finally, on something I could hear, such as the squeaking noise of the door and the smell of freshly printed paper.
Focusing on the things around me allowed me to take control of my reaction to different problems.
Anxiety stems from the fear of losing control and unpredictability. Grounding yourself in your surroundings will give you the surety that you need to keep yourself calm and composed. If you find that it helps you for the time being and you might get another panic attack soon, a long-lasting way to feel grounded is to go out for a walk or a run.
When you engage your senses in your surroundings, you’ll feel grounded and it will result in greater levels of productivity. Physical exertion can lead to the release of mental stress and lead to clarity of mind. Once the negative emotions are out of the way, you’ll feel much better and deal with the problem with a clearer mind frame.
Going outside for a run or a walk can also lead to the release of endorphins in your body that can counter stress and leave you in a good mood. With a positive outlook on the situation at hand, you will feel more in control and grounded.
Meditation is probably one of the most widely-known grounding techniques for anxiety. Yet, it was one of the hardest things I ever learned to do. Not only was I unable to concentrate, I often went down a path of toxic thoughts. No matter what I did, but I also couldn’t concentrate; it was then that a friend of mine recommended cannabis.
Being a person who had never smoked, I was somewhat cynical of the suggestion and didn’t use it until it was my last resort. It proved to be beneficial. I didn’t get high; instead, I became clearer in my thought process.
Tea works for some people too, but because I have a high tolerance to caffeine, it didn’t help me as it should have. While many people are critical of its use, it has done but helped me through my tough time. I found cannabis to give that extra push I needed to get through the day.
As I could concentrate better, my productivity levels raised, and I also started to like going to work. While some people do like getting high, I wouldn’t recommend that if you are a person who doesn’t like losing control.
Try going to a peaceful place, the most preferable time to meditate is in the morning. While most people do prefer to meditate in the comfort of their homes, it is better to go outside and meditate so you can get some fresh air.
3. Writing it down
A friend of mine once suggested writing down what I felt, and that would make me feel better. In the beginning, I just used to sit down with my pen for hours and just stare at a blank page. It seemed as though my thoughts were going faster than I could write.
I often got up with nothing but doodles on my page. After a month or so, I started writing down two to three sentences, one thing led to the next, and now I am writing my journal every day. Human psychology works in a way that it will try to suppress the bad things that are happening.
That suppression can go on for only so long before you explode. I used to worry that writing it down will make it real; it already was real and was wishful thinking on my part to imagine it might just go away. Coming to terms with reality caused me to prosper significantly.
Writing down how you feel can give you a sense of control. Feeling a certain emotion is one thing and looking at it writing on a piece of paper can give you an edge while understanding your situation. What may seem legitimate at the moment may seem impulsive in retrospect.
Most of us experience severe anxiety when we can’t express the way we feel, writing it down can prove to be the grounding technique that you needed for catharsis.
All of us have had that day when you lose hopeless and distraught. At times like this, we tend to feel lonely. I often used to think if someone would just hold me for a while if I asked them to, this thought used to cause me pain. Being alone can mess not only with your mind by also with your physical health.
So the next time you feel down, and everything seems to be going south, don’t feel shy and just ask a friend or a family member for a hug. You only get what you ask for, so you should be open to asking for help. For a long time, I couldn’t, and it led to nothing but pain.
5. Realizing your emotions
Last but not least, a great way to feel grounded is to be in touch with your emotions, whether they might be of pain or pleasure. Life is a combination of both pain and pleasure, and you should come to terms with it. Whenever I started panicking at work or even at hope, I started thinking about what I felt at the moment.
What was making me like that? Was it because I recently left a long relationship? Or was it because of the workload? Was I just overthinking? Focusing on such aspects of emotions made me feel grounded.
Somehow the pain reminded me that I was alive. That feeling or realization that I’m still alive made me calm down and look at the problems with a new frame of mind. I often felt messed up at the fact that realizing pain made me feel better, but it was then that I came to terms with the fact that only living things feel pain.
Realizing your emotions and the reason why you feel a certain way can go a long way to make you feel grounded. Emotions are tricky and when we can’t rationalize the way we feel, we tend to lose our balance. Once we know the reason why we feel the way we do, only then can we do something to feel better about it.
So the next time you suddenly start feeling sad, or wake up and feel that you’re down, give yourself some time. Sit down and think about why you feel the way you do. Did you have a bad dream last night? Did someone say something yesterday that you can’t get out of your mind? Ask yourself such a question and get to the bottom of it.
If you suffer from anxiety, give these grounding techniques a try
If you’ve gone through the above-mentioned grounding techniques, you now know how to follow them and get the maximum result for your anxiety. These are the things that have worked form and made my life better. Not only have I excelled business-wise I rarely get any panic attacks now and feel more comfortable in my skin. Remember that different things work for different people.
Some of you might benefit from one of the techniques, while others may have to look for a combination that works for them. Try to figure out what works for you and stick to it. I hope you find the article beneficial.
Author Bio: Jack is a psychotherapist and neurodegenerative disorders expert. He has been practicing in New York for 25 years now, and since then he has been fighting to make marijuana legal in the United States for it comes with numerous health benefits.