Grounding can help manage anxiety

Grounding is a way to break up thoughts in our mind that are preventing us from being in the here and now and keeping us in emotional overwhelm. We are aware that mindfulness can assist in the decrease of anxiety by being fully present in the moment. Grounding can be viewed as a relative of mindfulness. Mindfulness can be looked at as a means to reduce overall stress and grounding is a strategy to cope with acute stress in the moment. It can be helpful to first allow yourself to feel that uncomfortable emotion and identify it. Allow yourself to release that emotion and then engage in a strategy that helps you regulate and be in the moment. For example, you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to complete and stress of the job… your thought is “Today is going to be tense” you automatically feel the pressure and stress before you have even walked out the door. Identify what can help you be in the “here and now” and ground.  Typically sensory strategies can help us be in the moment… focusing on touch, sight, sound, smell & taste. If we are having a warm cup of tea or a cold glass of water, part of our brain now has to send messages that the drink is hot or cold… this helps break up the encompassing negative thoughts about the situation. Identifying items in a room sends messages and uses a different part of the brain separate from the emotional brain. Counting the corners in the room or finding items that are a specific color. If you have more time maybe it is doing a puzzle in the evening or playing a game to access different parts of the brain and be in the here and now. The boom of fidget tools and sensory items happened for a reason. To assist in regulating and grounding. If one is playing with Thinking putty or a fidget ring part of the brain has to now focus on that action… It is also providing sensory input which can be soothing as well. Movement itself is extremely helpful in grounding as a number of senses are heightened and numerous messages from the brain are being sent to muscles in the body. So now that you have engaged in a grounding technique that works for you, you are able to be in the here and now, the negative thoughts are not as strong. Your mood might even be elevated a little bit. Heck if you were engaged in physical exercise to ground you have the benefits of endorphins on your side too. Now you can work on looking at situations differently. The thought can shift to “Today I am going to accomplish a lot” This perception can assist in having a better outlook on the day and feeling capable of managing tasks.

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