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Quick & Easy Grounding Techniques

Ever wondered what a “grounding technique” is, anyway?

It’s in the zeitgeist, but what IS it?

Grounding techniques are what you can use when you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, panicked or having some type of emotional pain.

Grounding techniques can be awesome. They can suck. They can be anywhere in between, because – turns out – everyone is different, and different grounding techniques work for different people.

The overall idea behind “grounding” is that when we get too in our heads (which can be like a bad neighborhood), we can get into trouble. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to get out of your head and back into your body.

Here are some popular grounding techniques used by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Try them out and see how you feel afterward.


“SQUARE” OR 4-PART BREATHING

Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, repeat at least 4 times or until you feel more in your body. You can mentally do a “1-Mississippi-2-Missippi-3-Missippi-4-Mississippi” if it helps with consistency. (I personally like “1-Boogie-Woogie-2-Boogie-Woogie… but that’s just me.)

“I AM HERE” CHECK-IN

Say aloud your name, your age, the date and where you are. List some things you have done today, or things you are going to do today.

5 THINGS YOU SEE/FEEL/HEAR

Look around and notice 5 things you can see. List them out to yourself. Next, notice 5 things you can feel. For instance, it may be you can feel your feet on the floor, or your legs and butt on your chair, or your cold fingers as you stare at your phone. Stuff like that. Lastly, notice 5 things you hear. This one can be challenging if you’re in an already-quiet environment, but odds are you can do it! Is there a clock ticking? How about a light buzzing? Truck rumbling down the road outside? Your own breathing?

DANCE (WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING)

Find a song you can’t help but dance to. Put it on when you’re by yourself and dance, knowing that no one is watching or judging you! Be as silly or serious as you want to be. Whatever feels best.

BODY SCAN

You can start at your feet. Notice your feet, how they feel. Wiggle your toes a little. Notice if there is any tension, if they’re cold, warm or just comfortable. Then move up to your legs, etc., just scanning your body and noticing how it feels. Where is it relaxed? Where is it tense? By the time you get to your head, you may well be grounded in your body. Mission accomplished.

WATER, WATER, WATER

Drink it. Splash it on your face. Shower in it. Soak in a tub of it. You’re made of the stuff. Give it to your body.

By getting “grounded,” we get ourselves back into our body, which helps us remember that whatever is going on in our heads isn’t actually happening and real – it’s simply up in our head and making us feel terrible.

Try these techniques and see what happens. If they don’t work for you, try some other things to get you back into your body and out of your head (even if it’s just for a second!). Get creative. You know yourself best, after all. And who knows: You may be the inventor of the World’s Greatest Grounding Technique someday!


February 17, 2016