What are grounding techniques for anxiety treatment?
Grounding techniques for anxiety treatment are strategies or exercises designed to detach yourself from emotional pain. They help your body and mind calm down from anxiety triggers by shifting your focus to the present rather than worrying about the past or future.
Grounding isn’t designed to solve the problem you are facing, but rather to anchor you down and take control of your emotions upon intense moments. By doing so, it allows you to return to the present and address the issue at hand.
Different types of grounding techniques for anxiety treatment?
Physical grounding techniques use your 5 senses or involve the use of tangible objects to provide relief.
- Hold ice – Focus on the sensation in your hands when you hold the cold cubes of ice. See how long it will take for the ice to melt.
- Stretch – Allow your body to reach out to the space around you while focusing on your breathing. Pay attention to the sensation you get as you extend your fingers, arms, and legs.
- Savor a food or drink – Take a few bites of a food or drink you can easily grab and enjoy. Focus on the flavor, aroma, texture, and take it all in. Avoid doing anything else while doing this exercise, like watching TV or talking to anyone.
Mental Grounding techniques are meant to distract you from negative thinking and bring you into the present moment.
- Describe your surroundings – Try to use your senses to notice what is around you.
- Watch a movie or TV show – Find something to watch to help you escape your worrying thoughts for a while.
- Think in categories – Challenge your brain to list as many things that come to mind in a category. Ex. “Genres of music,” “European countries,” “soccer teams.”
Soothing techniques help calm your nervous system by promoting good and comfortable feelings.
- Listen to Music – Put on your favorite songs/albums and imagine you’re listening to them for the very first time. Tune in to the aspects of the music that made you fall in love with it in the first place.
- Be Around Your Pet – If you are a pet-owner, focus on the touch of their bodies and pay attention to any unique marking.
- Speak with Self-Compassion – Talk to yourself like a friend would do. Avoid negative self-talk and give yourself some grace. Tell yourself, either aloud or in your head, things like “You’re having a rough time, but you’re strong enough to make it through.”
How do grounding techniques work in anxiety treatment?
When you experience high stress situations, flashbacks, or have uncertainties about your future, your flight-or-fight response kicks in. This causes the brain to feel like your body is under attack.
Grounding techniques take the mind away from triggering thoughts. You engage in visualizations and your senses in order to calm down.
The main purpose of grounding techniques in anxiety treatment is to bring you back to the present.
Seeking Counseling Services for Anxiety Treatment
Grounding techniques are meant to help you in the moment. If you experience reoccurring panic attacks, reach out to a mental health therapist. A therapist will provide you with more tools and coping mechanisms to manage your anxiety, tailored to you.
If you’re ready to start anxiety treatment, or treat any mental health issues, we are here to help.
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