22 Best Grounding Techniques For Anxiety
Updated December 17, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
If you're struggling with anxiety, you're not alone – it's one of the most common mental health conditions. It's also highly treatable. With some self-care and know-how, you can do much to help your situation. Though anxiety may at times seem overwhelming, this condition doesn't have to drag you down or get in the way of doing the things that you enjoy. You deserve inner peace and a sound mind free of distractions.
Grounding Techniques For Anxiety
You might feel as though you've tried everything to rid yourself of anxiety, but to no avail. Good news – grounding techniques are here to help! If you familiarize yourself with these methods and they help you, you can have them in your arsenal anytime anxiety creeps up. This way, you can help yourself become a more relaxed, happier person, better equipped to deal with whatever life and anxiety might throw your way.
A few grounding techniques include deep breathing, meditation, and journaling. These are easy practices that you can incorporate into your life with minimal effort. And you will likely notice some benefit from them almost immediately. We'll talk more about these strategies, and many others, later in the article.
Anxiety in the Community
Even though anxiety is one of the most common mental health struggles, you might not know it. Many people keep their fears and worries hidden, afraid to let on that they’re having a tough time. But because the condition is so widespread, much is known on how to treat it, and there are a multitude of people ready and willing to help. Anxiety treatment and grounding techniques have overwhelmingly positive results. Whether you are seeking treatment for your anxiety or not, grounding techniques can be extremely beneficial. When you're experiencing your highest anxiety, whatever situation might bring it on, you can use these techniques to help you become calmer and better able to function.
Grounding techniques for anxiety can be more helpful for immediate relief than medication. Medication typically takes time to kick in, but grounding techniques can help you feel better almost instantly while often simultaneously helping you to get in tune with what the root problem may be. Often a combination of grounding techniques, relaxation techniques, medication, and coping skills learned in therapy are used for coping with anxiety.
Why Anxiety Grounding Techniques Work
Some anxiety symptoms are quite common throughout all types of anxiety, and these are what grounding techniques assist you with. Feelings of insecurity, restlessness, being disconnected from yourself or your surroundings, trouble concentrating, and looping thoughts are all common symptoms. Grounding techniques take you away from anxiety-producing thoughts and into the present. It's about being mindfully aware of what is happening right now and in the world around you. This can make you feel grounded, or connected, and help take you outside of your repeating thoughts or racing heart.
Anxiety Grounding Techniques – 5 Senses
One of the most common grounding techniques for anxiety is the five senses technique. In this exercise, you'll identify sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations. This puts you in awareness of your surroundings and can make you feel more connected and in the present moment. The common method for using the five senses for grounding is the 5-4-3-2-1 method.
First, find five things that you can see, and say them out loud. Next, find four things that you can feel, such as the warmth from your socks or the softness of your pillow, and again, say them out loud. Proceed to three things that you can hear, and say those out loud. If you're in a quiet room, you might have trouble finding things you can hear, but it can even be the sound of your tummy rumbling. Then, identify two things that you can smell and one thing that you can taste. It can be the scent of your linen, the aftertaste of toothpaste – any smells or tastes you can manage to discover in the moment. By the time you've followed through all five of the senses, your mind should be away from whatever was making you anxious, and you should be mindfully in the present.
22 Anxiety Grounding Techniques
There are a lot of techniques that you can use to ground yourself when you're struggling with anxiety. You can easily add to this list anything that brings you mindfully into the present and makes you more aware of yourself and your surroundings. This list of anxiety grounding techniques was originally published by Kate White, a mental health blogger. The success that people have had with these techniques has led it to be republished across the web on many sites. This list has also been expanded.
Newspaper. Grab the newspaper or pull it up online. Take careful note of the date, and then read an uplifting story about something going on in your community, the country, or the world. Do not read the bad news when you're anxious! Bookmarking a positive news site for this purpose may be helpful, such as Good News Network or Sunny Skyz.
Deep Breathing. Breathe in slowly and deeply from your core, and breathe out slowly, imagining all your worry and anxiety leaving your body as you exhale. Sometimes counting while breathing in and out can further calm your mind. You may found counting to four while inhaling, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and holding at the bottom for a count of four to be helpful in refocusing your thoughts and slowing your heart rate.
Mindfully Existing. Trace your hands around the physical outline of your body and be aware of your existence in the world. This can help you feel more connected to yourself when your anxiety makes you feel disconnected.
Call A Friend. Call a friend and have a chat. The chat can be about anything at all, but focus your attention on the conversation.
Change Position. Changing your position can also help you be more mindful. Change the way you're sitting, stand up, wiggle your fingers or toes.
Mindfully Eat or Drink Something. Eat or drink something while focusing on the sensations. Is it hot or cold? How does it taste?
Meditate. Meditation can take many forms. Give one a try! And if meditation isn't right for you, zone out to television or music.
Use Your Voice. Use your voice, especially if you're alone. This will help bring you back to the present. You can say your name, pick up a book and read aloud the first paragraph you see, or just read out the ingredients on a bag of chips.
Look In The Mirror. Look at yourself in the mirror and smile, even if you don't feel like it. What do you see? How does it feel to smile? Don't allow negative thoughts about yourself to intrude.
Journal. Writing down what's happening right now can help you get the feeling of anxiety out of you. Keeping these writings as a journal can help you examine your triggers for your anxiety later.
Mindfully Bathe. Take a bath or shower and pay attention to the experience. Concentrate on the sensations of the water on your skin or the smell of the shampoo.
Write An Email. Write an email to someone you care about, just to check in. This gives your mind something to focus on besides whatever is making you anxious.
Imagine A Comfortable Place. Imagine yourself in a safe and comfortable place. Feel the safety of it. Put yourself there and know it completely.
Counting Awareness. Look outside and count the things you see. You can count the trees, the stop signs, the bushes, even the cars on the road.
Exercise. Exercise doesn't have to be planned or extensive. Jump up and down on the spot. Do some quick yoga poses. Go for a walk or ride a bike if you're able.
Hold Onto Comfort. Hold onto something you find comforting. It could be a pillow, a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a doll.
Laugh. Laugh, even if it's hard to do. Force the laugh. Laughing can break the feeling that you're spinning out of control and bring you back to the present.
Analyze Triggers. Make a list of the things that trigger your anxiety so you can bring them to your therapist. The therapist can then help you learn how to desensitize yourself to those triggers so that you don't get as anxious.
List Furniture And Enlist A Friend. This one is particularly good if you suffer from PTSD or situational anxiety where you lose bearing of where you are. Make a list of furniture in your home and give it to a friend. When you feel disconnected and unaware of your surroundings, call the friend and have them list the furniture back to you.
Positive Things. List five positive things in your life and post the list somewhere highly visible. It will help remind you of the goodness that exists beyond your anxiety.
Remember Wellness. Think back through the last week and remember a time you did not feel anxious. What did that feel like? What can you change to make yourself feel that way again? Remember that anxiety is not forever, and will pass.
Getting Help. Too many people with anxiety suffer needlessly. Through a therapist, you could learn coping skills, how to desensitize yourself to anxiety triggers, and ways to change your thinking and behavior to decrease or eliminate your anxiety. Anxiety is very treatable, so don't put off contacting a therapist for help.
How BetterHelp Can Help
In addition to these grounding strategies, a licensed therapist can offer a thorough treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Oftentimes, therapy is the most effective option to calm anxiety in the long-term. Specifically, online therapy has been found to be particularly helpful to those with anxiety, including social anxiety.
If you don't have access to licensed therapists nearby, don't worry. You can forget about stuffy waiting rooms and uncomfortable therapists' couches. With BetterHelp's online platform, you can kick your feet up and get the help you need from the comfort of your own home. Sessions will be completely tailored to your needs, and options include video chatting, phone calls, live voice recording, and even texting. See below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from clients experiencing similar issues.
"Shana was such a comforting, thoughtful, and helpful presence in my life when I felt like I was spiraling. She actively listened to my worries and concerns, I never felt judged, and at the end of each session she always gave me something on which to reflect in the coming week. I'm grateful for my time with her and can't recommend her more highly for anyone who's looking for a therapist/counselor."
"David has been my greatest support in navigating issues that were simply holding me back from being happy. Before working with David, I was suffering from anxiety due to relationship issues and career changes that were putting me in a bad place. We worked on everything step by step and I can say, with great gratitude, that I feel much stronger and happier now, after only a few months. I've managed to rebuild that strength in time with his help. He's also never missed a session and always went the extra mile to help with everything he could. Thanks, David!"
If you're struggling with anxiety, you don't have to face it alone. The licensed therapists at BetterHelp are always here to help guide your way to a more grounded and peaceful life. Take the first step.
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