Grounding! - Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 #connectwithnature
Grounding is a great technique to use to get yourself back in the present moment. Often when we feel anxious or overwhelmed our thoughts start to race and we end up in a spiral of ‘overthinking’. Using a grounding technique can help you to calm down quickly and pause those overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
Using some simple grounding ideas can just interrupt that thinking and get us back to where we are and what we are doing – the here and now. They can help to distract you from flashbacks, unwanted memories or negative and challenging emotions.
Often our minds can feel like a puppy – constantly flitting from one to another, never still, into everything – and it can be really difficult to focus and settle on just one thing. It is when your brain is at its most ‘puppy-like’ that we can start to feel overwhelmed because we feel trapped and unable to focus – whether we constantly replay events that have already happened and you end up going over and over them in your head, or you are trying to predict the future and doing lots of ‘what-if’ thinking, grounding is a useful tool to break the cycle of overthinking or bring your attention back from the puppy!
There are various techniques that you can use but our favourite is one called 5,4,3,2,1. It gets you to use all of your senses –
· 5 different things that you can see in your immediate surroundings, you need to look around you and tick them off
4 things that you can hear – bird song/your computer hum
3 things that you can touch or feel – the wind on your face/your feet on the ground
2 things that you can smell – fresh cut grass/cooking smells
1 thing that you can taste or remember that you like you the taste of – mums roast potatoes/chocolate
There are many other grounding techniques and regardless which one you decide to use there are some important reminders:
You need to practice! It doesn’t just happen – you need to be practicing using the technique when you feel calm.
You also need to start early – start using your technique just as you start to recognise the early signs in yourself that you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it may be that your heart beats a bit faster, you may get sweaty palms – whatever it is, start using your grounding technique as early as you can when you recognise those symptoms or feelings.
Rate how you are feeling before and after you use your technique – it won’t put you down at nought on your scale, but it just might stop you from getting up to number 10!
And finally – choose a technique that means you have to keep your eyes open – this helps us to stay connected to the world around us and helps to take us out of our own head!
So, whichever grounding technique you decide is your favourite, add it to your Wellness Toolbox and follow our top tips to make it work for you.