Grounding Skills for Anxiety and Panic
Oct 04, 2018
When a person is living with anxiety or trauma-related disorders, he or she might commonly feel "stuck" in the past or the future. With anxiety and PTSD, it can be common to relive past moments and worry about future ones. When the anxiety is at its strongest, it can feel like sailing off into the stratosphere or being caught up in a cyclone. In a moment of intense anxiety or a panic attack, it can be difficult to feel as though you are rooted in the moment, or even rooted to yourself.
Grounding skills can help.
Grounding skills are meant to bring your feet back to the earth and to promote a sense of being present, or "grounded." They often involve trying to reconnect with your body, and as such, make good use of the main five senses.
- If you have personal pictures available, look at a picture that is meaningful to you. Say the names of the people or location and your relationship to them.
- Find a focal point. Trace it with your eyes, describe it in your mind, and describe its proximity to you.
- Look at a clock or calendar. Note the time or date. Say to yourself, "It is (time) on (date) and I am at (location)."
- Find a favorite song! Repeat the lyrics, or try singing how your body feels to the tune of the song.
- Pay attention to the sound of your breath.
- Find a sound in the current environment. Describe it and note how it is impacting you in your environment.
- Rub your hands together and pay attention to the sensation.
- Gently snap a rubber band on your wrist
- Do a body scan, reviewing yourself from head to toe. What sensations do you notice in your body?
- Stroke a soft or silky piece of fabric. Notice how it feels.
- Take deep breaths. Feel the air coming in and out. Notice how it feels in your body.
- Use your favorite candle or essential oil and try to describe the scent.
- Sniff your coffee, tea, or snack and notice how your body reacts to the scent.
- Use your favorite lotion or perfume. Pay attention to the sensations of both the scent and the application of the lotion.
- Chew gum or pop in a piece of hard candy. Try to describe the flavor or texture to yourself.
- Enjoy a soothing drink. Focus on the flavor and temperature.
Grounding skills can be used as needed in almost any environment and can be highly effective. These are only a few grounding activities out of countless options. If you are interested in exploring more or in having support in using these skills, therapy can be helpful. Contact us to meet with a trained therapist in a welcoming environment!
Category: Anxiety Therapy