Grounding exercises bring us into the present moment. The techniques used for grounding are helpful in many different situations, like when you are overwhelmed or overly anxious. They are also useful when feeling distracted for any reason or if strong emotions are feeling uncontrollable. The aim of grounding exercises is to bring awareness to the safety of the moment and encourage the mind and body to connect so they can work together. There are different ways to ground oneself and what works for one may not work for another. Over time, what works for you may stop working and a new technique be added. Try to approach grounding as an experiment by testing what works and how it makes you feel. Below are a few things to use your senses, mind, and movement to become grounded. Some may help you, others will not. Give yourself time to try each and record what works best.
Focus on Breath
Tuning into breathing is a simple way to become grounded. There are several techniques to hone in to your breathing. One simple technique is to take a slow, deep inhale for a count of 5 and then exhale slowly for a 5 count. You can also inhale and then exhale three times deeply to see how your body feels. Other options include abdominal breathing, purposely slow breathing, and mindfulness of breathing. Breath is always available which makes it an easy and constantly available grounding option.
Reorienting to the Present
Ground yourself in the present time and place by answering the following:
- Where am I right now?
- What is today?
- What is the date, month, and year?
- How old am I?
- What is the season?
Take this further by looking at an object in your immediate surroundings and focus on the color, shape, function, and texture. Do the same with at least three other objects in your immediate surroundings. Think about each body part and how it feels in that moment. This will help you be grounded.
Using Your Senses
To ground yourself, take advantage of your normal senses. Tune into each sense individually as you name one thing you can smell, see, taste, touch, and hear in the moment. Try taking off your shoes and socks and walk around in the grass, feeling the earth on your feet. If possible, take a shower and feel every drop as it hits your skin. Take time to stop, close your eyes, and listen to all the sounds around you. Use your sense of smell to sniff your favorite perfume or essential oil. Try mindful eating by taking small bites of a piece of fruit or candy and take time to taste it and feel each texture. This keeps you present.
This form of grounding actually takes you out of the present to relax. Use your imagination to think of someplace calm and relaxing. Imagine the sounds, smells, and feelings. Imagine with as much detail as possible. Pay attention to how your body changes in this place. If you become relaxed, imagine this place often.
Movement is a great way to become grounded. Try taking a slow stroll though a calm place like a park. Feel each step and your legs moving as you walk. For something more active, head to the gym for a class, swim, or full workout. If at home, just jump up and down paying attention to how your body feels. For a little more fun, turn on some upbeat music and dance to improve your mood.
Hopefully, some of the techniques will help you get grounded and stay grounded when times are tough.