20+ Grounding Techniques For Anxiety You Can Try To Calm Down
One of the most common mental health concerns in today’s world is anxiety. Almost everyone I meet struggles with some type of anxiety which makes me wonder; is there a way to control anxiety effectively? Are there any techniques that can help one calm down instantly and bring one back to the present moment?
Well, I’ve heard a lot (and tried many) of grounding techniques. My favorite is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. But how do these grounding techniques for anxiety work? Do they even help?
We’ve understood now that no matter how overwhelming anxiety can be; with some self-care and self-help tips, we can do so much to control and calm the response. Grounding techniques can be the arsenal you keep with you to use whenever the dreaded anxiety strikes.
After all, we deserve to live a worry-free and distraction-free life, don’t we? So we need to be better equipped with tools to deal with anxiety and the challenges it brings along.
Below, I’ve listed 20+ grounding techniques for anxiety that you can try whenever anxiety creeps in.
20+ Grounding Techniques For Anxiety
1. Deep Breathing
Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. As you exhale, imagine your worries and anxieties leaving your core. You can also try to count while breathing as this will keep your mind focused on the sensations and not thoughts.
Here’s a simple breathing exercise for you:
- Step 1: Inhale through your nose slowly while counting to 4
- Step 2: Hold your breath while counting to 4
- Step 3: Exhale through your mouth slowly while counting to 4
- Step 4: Hold your breath while counting to 4. Repeat as needed.
Mindfulness means bringing your attention and awareness to the present moment. You can do this by tracing your hands over your body and becoming aware of your presence. This grounding technique for anxiety will help you reconnect with yourself and calm your overwhelming emotions.
Another simple grounding exercise for anxiety can be calling a friend, a trusted loved one, or a support person. You can call and chat with them about anything you like but during this call, try to keep all of your attention on the conversation.
4. 5 Senses Grounding Technique
Another easy grounding technique for anxiety is the 5 senses exercise. Here you need to focus on what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel.
Also known as the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique, you need to do the following:
- Step 1: Identify and list 5 things you can see
- Step 2: Identify and list 4 things you can feel (texture of a blanket, pillow, etc)
- Step 3: Identify and list 3 things you can hear (nature sounds, traffic sounds, etc)
- Step 4: Identify and list 2 things you can smell (aftershave, perfume, etc)
- Step 5: Identify and list 1 thing you can taste (aftertaste of fruit you ate, etc)
5. Mindful Eating/Drinking
Another simple grounding technique is to focus on the sensations of the food you’re eating or the drinks you’re drinking. Are they hot? Are they cold? How do they taste? How does the texture of the food make you feel?
Meditation can be easy and quick. All you have to do is focus on an object, sensation, or feeling and keep it there for a few minutes until your mind calms and your anxiety begins to fade. You can also find quick 1-minute meditation on YouTube to use as a reference whenever anxiety takes over.
7. Narration In Your Voice
Another grounding technique for anxiety can be narrating anything. It could be the ingredients list on the back of a box or reading aloud a chapter of your favorite book. This activity will help you focus on the present and not on your thoughts alone.
8. Look In The Mirror
When your anxiety strikes, you can get up and walk to your mirror and look at yourself. See how you look, how your smile stretches your face, and how your smile wrinkles your eyes. Notice what you see? How does it feel to smile? Keep repeating those things until your thoughts calm down.
One of the most recommended techniques for anxiety is journaling. Write down what you’re experiencing at the moment. What thoughts and feelings are you experiencing? You can also use this journal as a point of reference to understand your anxiety triggers.
10. Taking A Shower
Mindful showering is a thing! When you feel anxious, go take a mindful shower. Pay attention to the temperature of the water, the sensations it brings, and how your body feels during the shower/bath. Concentrate on the bath/shower, how the soap smells, and the other sensations it brings.
11. Imagining Your Happy Place
This is a mental grounding technique. Here you need to imagine your happy space. The place, event, or even a person that makes you feel happy and calm. Visualize the sense of safety this happy place brings and know that you’re safe and secure. Let the calmness of the happy place wash over you.
12. Counting Things
Just like you count sheep to fall asleep, you can count things to calm your anxiety as well. Look around you and see what you can count. If you’re outside, then count the trees, stop signs, or even the doors you pass. If you’re inside, then you can count pillows, water bottles, etc.
Moving your body can also be a good grounding exercise for anxiety. All you need to do is do some jumping jacks or quick yoga poses. You can also go for a walk or ride a bike if you can.
14. Holding A Comfort Object
This is my go-to grounding technique for anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious, just look around for the nearest object such as a ball or anything you find comforting. Pillows, soft toys, or even a water bottle can work. Just focus on the object and how it feels in your hands.
15. Laughing Out Loud
Laughter is the best medicine after all. Even if you don’t want to, laugh. This exercise can break your ruminating thoughts and bring your awareness to the present. You can also try laughter yoga.
Also Read: Can Laughter Therapy Beat Depression?
16. Making A List
Just like it helps in journaling, making a list of your triggers can help you calm down. All you need to do is, get a piece of paper, and write down what might’ve triggered your anxiety. This will help you analyze your situation and also give your therapist a head start.
17. List Positive Things.
Another grounding technique is listing things. You can list 4-5 things in your life that is positive or that have a positive effect on your life. After listing, post this list somewhere you can see. This will help you remember the good things in your life and distract you from focusing on your anxieties.
18. Remember Wellness
This is a grounding technique for anxiety that asks you to think back to a time when you didn’t feel anxious or stressed. What did that time feel like? What can you do now to feel that again? Remember the time you felt well!
19. Think In Categories
Pick one or three categories; for example, “Ice cream flavors”. Take a moment to list as many flavors as you can in the category. You can pick any broad category you like and list it out. This will help you stay distracted from your anxiety and bring your focus to the present.
20. Dip Your Hands In Cold Water
This is a good grounding exercise for anxiety. This technique requires you to dip your hands in a bowl of water. Once you do this, all you need to do is focus on the temperature of the water, and how it feels on your palms or the back of your hands. You can try this with cold and warm water.
21. Hold An Ice Cube
I’ve seen this grounding technique be recommended in many videos and articles. All this technique requires is to hold an ice cube in your hand or put it in your mouth while focusing on how it feels on your skin. Notice how long it takes to melt, what sensations it brings, and how it feels generally.
22. Seeking Help
You might not know but seeking help can also act as a grounding technique. A therapist can help you learn coping skills and teach you how to react to your triggers. Remember, anxiety is a treatable condition and with the right help and self-help strategies, it can be easily manageable.
How Do Grounding Techniques For Anxiety Work?
Grounding practices such as deep breathing, meditation, and journaling are quite common self-help exercises that we use for most of our distress symptoms, and why not? These exercises are easy to incorporate into your life and are likely to give immediate relief. But how do these techniques work?
Even though anxiety is becoming a common mental health concern, many people don’t even realize that they have it. Some people hide their anxiety behind a curtain of social norms and others hide the symptoms because they don’t know what to do about them. What people fail to realize is that there are easily accessible anxiety treatments available.
One of the treatments for anxiety is grounding techniques and these self-help exercises have had positive results. When you’re experiencing anxiety or are just stressed, grounding techniques can help you calm down and bring you back to the present moment.
These grounding exercises for anxiety are also adept at giving immediate relief, faster than medications. And when you combine psychotherapy with medications and grounding techniques, your anxiety treatment can prove immensely effective.
Some of the anxiety symptoms are common in all kinds of anxiety and for those, grounding techniques can come in handy. Symptoms such as feelings of insecurity, restlessness, poor concentration, and ruminating thoughts are common, and grounding exercises for anxiety can take away many of these symptoms by bringing your awareness to the present moment.
Grounding techniques for anxiety are about bringing your awareness to what’s happening in the present rather than losing your awareness of the past or worries about the future. These exercises can make you feel grounded and connected to reality while taking away your attention from your rumination and worries about the past and the future, respectively.
I hope these 20-something grounding techniques for anxiety will help you whenever your anxiety strikes. For more, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media.
You can also share your favorite grounding exercise to help with anxiety in the comments below.