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  • Grounding to Improve Presence and Decrease Anxiety

    Grounding is a set of simple strategies that can help you detach from emotional pain (e.g., anxiety, anger, sadness, self-harm). You may also think of grounding as centering, distracting, creating a safe place, or healthy detachment. Grounding allows us to stay in our body and logical brain instead of getting caught up in spiraling thoughts.

    Although grounding does not solve the problem that is contributing to your unpleasant emotions, it does provide a temporary way to gain control over your feelings and prevent things from getting worse. Grounding anchors you, gives you a chance to calm down, and allows you to eventually return and address the problem that is triggering the unpleasant emotions to begin with. And grounding can be done anytime, anywhere, and no one has to know.

    Ways to ground ourselves:

    1. Physically – Using our senses to describe what we are experiencing
    2. Mentally – Using our brain to describe what we know is true (e.g. Count backwards from 100 by 7s)
    3. Soothing – Say kind statements to yourself

    Example of grounding:

    • Sense grounding.
      • Find a calm place to sit or lie comfortably. Observe your surroundings.
      • List 5 things you can see.
      • List 4 things you can hear.
      • List 3 things you can touch.
      • List 2 things you can smell.
      • List 1 thing you can taste.
      • Ways to extend this activity:
        • Challenge yourself to see something very small or very far away.
        • Describe something you find in detail.
        • Go through it again and choose all new observations.
        • Take two deep breaths between each thing you choose.
        • Observe your emotions as you go through this grounding exercise.
    • Mindfulness while completing a common task
      • Filling up your glass with water.
        • How does the glass feel? What does the water left inside look like and sound like?
      • Turn on the faucet
        • What does the water sound like? Is it hot, warm, cold?
      • Fill up your glass
        • What does it sound like as it gets fuller? What does the water look like?
      • Take a drink
        • What does it taste like? What is the temperature of the water? How does it feel?
      • What else do you notice?
    • Just lay on the ground and breathe. Observe how this feels.