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If you experience intense anxiety, moments of panic, or frequent over-vigilance, it can be difficult to know what to do in those moments when your emotions feel like they are in control. It helps to find some mitigation and a little more control in the case of
These heightened fears and physiological arousals can result from traumatic experiences, sometimes flashbacks (i.e., recalling memories as if you were back there) or detachment (i.e., disconnection from reality). detachment from reality by experience of the body or a “blackout” of your mind). Grounding can refocus you on the present moment and help you shake off those overwhelming, anxious, or debilitating moments.
As with any coping strategy, finding the right and effective technique requires trial and error. It’s important to experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. So don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work or isn’t effective. This is good information to know, and you can choose to try something different next time.
when to use grounding
Try some grounding techniques if:
- Anxiety and panic attacks (“hyperactivity”)
- freezing or shutting down; trouble thinking or speaking (“decreased functioning”)
- Fear after having a nightmare
- Overwhelmed by confusing memories or flashbacks
- disconnected from the present moment (dissociation)
- nervous, alert, or overly alert
- anxious and restless
- Emotions Evoked by Trauma Reminders
- self talk. “I’m fine. I’m here and I’m safe at the moment. Nothing can hurt me right now.” Even telling the time and reminding yourself that you are safe can be helpful.
- meditation. Listen to a calming guided meditation. You can find plenty of free ones on YouTube, Spotify, or meditation apps like Insight Timer, Calm, and Smileing Mind. Experiment with different types of guided meditations to find the one you like best. For example, some focus on breathing, while others engage in body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery and visualization.
- music. Listen to calming music. You can create a playlist of calming songs and give the playlist something to remind you to use it in these moments (e.g. the name “Breathe” that I use I created a playlist for!)
- pet. If you have a pet, sit with it and focus on what you feel. Note their physical markings or unique features. If you’re not at home with your pet, think about what your pet likes and how it comforts them when you’re with them.
- visualize. Imagine a place that is comfortable or calm for you. Think of your favorite place and imagine yourself there. Use each of your senses to imagine what you see, what you hear, and what you smell.
It activates the parts of the brain needed for higher “thinking” rather than emotional instincts.
- subtraction 100 to 7. Keep trying!
- spell Reverse your first and last name and repeat this with the names of your family and friends. You can also include your age and one of your favorite activities.
- look Describe the surroundings of your environment to describe the objects and colors you see (e.g., “A landscape painting with a brown wooden chair, a burgundy coffee mug, and green trees in a forest. , Tranquil Lake of Turquoise, etc.).”
- clock A funny animal video, a clip of your favorite comedian, or part of your favorite TV show or movie. Anything that attracts you or makes you laugh.
- list Simply imagine in your mind four things that bring you joy or that you are grateful for.
- cold water. Splash cold water on your face. Put your hand in the cold water and observe how each part of your hand feels.
- take a walk outside Be aware of your surroundings – how does the air feel on your skin? What color is the sky? Try to describe what you see one by one.
- Focus on your five senses. Count down the list of things you notice around you.
- 5 things you see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you hear
- two things that smell
- A dish to taste
- Savor food and drink. Chew some food and drink some of your favorite beverage. Savor and savor each bite to the fullest, focusing on the smells and flavors you savor.
- touch the object and explain in detail. Describe the color, size, texture, weight, temperature, smell, and other interesting features.
How do you remember to use them if you feel very overwhelmed?
It’s really hard to think straight when anxiety hits you. I recommend choosing a he-one or he-two strategy up front to try the next time you feel taken over by your emotions. Better yet, practice using these strategies when your mind is calm. This makes it easier to remember them when you need them. ‘
Remembering to use strategies when you’re feeling anxious will help you build momentum and make it easier to remember to use them in the moment. .
- Set your phone background to a picture or phrase that helps remind you of the technique, such as a picture of a peaceful place or a mantra to use.
- Create a coping card to carry with you. It can be a note you keep in your wallet or a note on your phone listing some strategies to try.
- Wear a bracelet or other jewelry of a specific color or phrase to signal you to use your skill.
- Talk to a loved one, close friend or family member about this technique and remind them the next time they need it.