How many times have you heard “just breathe” or “it will all be ok” when you are experiencing a panic attack or elevated level of anxiety? While it is nice to hear these ideas, it can also be frustrating because we know this. We know we should just breathe or tell ourselves it will all be ok, but that is not the problem.
The problem is not that we don’t know this, the problem is in how our brain processes the current situation. In these moments we may be feeling out of control or unsafe. So, we tend to move into fight or flight mode and our anxiety continues to increase.
Also, in these moments our brain and body are typically not in alignment with one another. So, how to we help our brain process what we are experiencing as it is and keep our brain and body aligned? Through coping skills, such as grounding.
As mentioned in previous blogs, anxiety is all about control. The ides behind grounding is it can help us stay present in the moment and be in control of our current situation. Also, what is great about grounding is you can use it anywhere! If you are in public, people won’t even notice what you are doing.
Grounding involves using the five senses. The next time you begin to feel out of control and your anxiety increase, try this:
- Stop wherever you are (If you are driving, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road)
- Look around
- Silently or aloud name five things you can see
- Name four things you can touch
- Name three things you can hear
- Name two things you can smell
- Name one thing you can taste
Again, the idea is to keep you present and in the moment. I do like to add deep breathing while completing the grounding technique. To do this, you will take a deep breathe in through your nose, hold for a short-time, and breathe out through your mouth while going through the five senses.
If you would like to learn more about grounding or other coping skills for anxiety, please contact me. I can help you find the techniques that best work for you.