You are inundated with constant input. Financial, physical, emotional, professional, and relationship issues drive stress levels in our modern society to dangerous levels – previously unseen at any other time in our history.
The demands on your time and energy, the never-ending chaos of technology – television, internet, and social media, and the expectations required of us as individuals can leave you feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
These feelings can paralyze you and they are compounded if you have a history of trauma, abuse, addiction, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), or other emotional pain.
Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high and the only ones benefiting from this horrible state of emotional upheaval is the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies.
You need a safe and healthy way to detach from your negative feelings so you can think clearly and develop a proactive plan to stop and gain control over the specific pain in your life.
Using Grounding Techniques to Clear Your Head
Also referred to as “centering,” using grounding techniques is a simple approach to a complex problem. By creating a forced “distance” between your pain and the present moment, you give your mind the ability to rest by anchoring you in a safe reality.
Instead of being a slave to your past, your memories, your pain, or a prescription to numb you against them, grounding helps you to train your mind to distance you from negative emotions, to isolate them, and put them in perspective.
Unlike journaling, talk therapy, or searching out the source of what has hurt you, this method provides an immediate way to calm your mind, isolate the negativity, and continue to function.
7 Simple Grounding Techniques You Can Use Anywhere
- Location. Location. Location.
Describe where you are (inside or outside) in precise detail. Mentally chronicle the color of the carpet or tile, the furniture in the room, what animal or plant life you see, the temperature, scents, sounds, interesting shapes, and even people nearby. A grown-up version of “I Spy…” this method will force you to notice aspects of the immediate real world around you in ways we tend to overlook in the hustle and bustle.
- I’ll Take Varieties of Apples, Alex
Have you ever played Jeopardy? Random trivia is an excellent way to distract your mind from anxiety. The ability of your brain to retain more information than you realize is an endless source of diversion from stress, sadness, anger, and anxiety. How many different kinds of birds can you name? How many teams can you list from your favorite sport? How many countries, states, or capital cities can you list? Not only is trivia effective as a grounding technique, it helps to keep the mind sharp.
- Let Your Imagination Soar!
If you’re a naturally creative person, let those muscles stretch with self-expression. Allow yourself to “zone out” painting, writing, or knitting. Create a collage of things you love clipped from magazines. Follow a recipe from scratch – something you’ve always wanted to try. Cooking or baking takes creativity and concentration (the side effect is delicious!)
- Spend Time on You
Taking time to pamper yourself is crucial to understanding your self-worth. Spend an extra ten minutes in the shower, save to get something personal (for your mind or body) that you’ve wanted for a long time, take the time to moisturize your skin, or simply brush your hair for one hundred strokes.Never underestimate the power of a walk. It doesn’t have to be fast or far, it can be a calm jaunt around the block. Consider yoga or tai chi to increase flexibility, strengthen your core, and center your mind. You are worth your time and effort. You deserve to feel incredible!
- Mentally Make Things Different
Distraction from anxiety can take many forms. A positive one that you might enjoy is creating (or re-creating) how you think your life is going to play out using your personal goals as the “script” for each scene. Visualize where you want to go, how you plan to get there, and make a list of simple steps to build toward your new reality.Reading a favorite book, watching a movie, or tuning in to a show that makes you laugh are also excellent methods of distraction from immediate stress. However, be careful not to overuse these forms of “escape” – which can make it ever more difficult to deal with reality.
- Think Happy Thoughts
Yes, it sounds trite and silly but it’s a proven method to lower stress and raise positive feelings of gratitude and personal satisfaction. Think about each person in your life that you love, about things you love to do, about the lyrics to your favorite song, your favorite color, or how a project you’re working on is coming together. Have a go-to list of the five things you’re most grateful for – that make you happy. Keep an album of photos containing happy moments captured on film of you and the people you care about smiling and loving life. Call a friend who always makes you laugh or write someone you haven’t talked to in a while an email – and focus on the positive in your daily life. Wear a favorite piece of jewelry or carry a small object that takes you to a happy moment in your life. As a grounding technique, these are some of the best.
- Perform Menial Tasks
Nothing grounds you in the moment like chores! Cleaning, organizing, and sorting items for donation helps you to stay focused on a mindless task, taking you out of the moment, and leaving your home ship-shape behind you. Do some work in your yard and soak up some sunshine. Put some music on while you work that you inspires you to randomly sing and dance.
Finding the grounding techniques that work best for you takes trial and error. Even when you find the right combination of thoughts and actions, it still takes practice for them to help you anytime, anywhere, without anyone being aware that you’re doing them.
Don’t give up.