Ever hear people talk about staying grounded? For a long time I always wondered what that meant. I think until I went through anxiety and depression, I didn’t really understand the concept. Here’s the thing with an anxious or depressed mind, we tend to go out in left field with our thoughts and behaviors and have a difficult time coming back to reality. Now, I’m not suggesting that all you have to do is think differently and poof, everything is back to normal. In fact, research shows our brains do not work that way. But, you can do things like staying grounded to help.
1. So what exactly is staying grounded?
Staying grounded means staying present. It means you are mindful of who you are and of all your current actions. There is currently a popular technique, which you may have heard of called Mindfulness. Staying Grounded and being Mindful are practically the same concept. This technique is especially helpful with panic attacks. See, our brains go into survival mode: all of our 5 senses are heightened and we think at rapid speed, all of which are helpful should we actually be in danger. Practice mindfulness and staying present helps us get through that panic attack.
2. Techniques to help stay grounded:
Center yourself with your breath. Deep breathing, although neutral, can help center yourself. I tend to think of a calming image while deep breathing. I find it helps reduce those rapid thoughts and slightly decreases my senses.
Repeating phrases. Reminding yourself of realities, whether you actually feel them or not, can be helpful. I know that I am safe. I know that I can find air. I know that I am starting to relax. I know that I am not in danger. Say each phrase with conviction and slowly. Let the message seep into your brain. You may need to repeat this exercise a few times.
Name 3 things you see. It’s kind of like that game we play with little kids to keep them entertained, "I spy with my little eye something..." (especially at restaurants or waiting for long periods of time). Why not, play it with yourself. Find 3 things that… and fill in the blank. Maybe it is find 3 things that are brown. Find 3 people who look like they are working. You get the gist.
My Take Away…
Staying grounded is a great technique to practice regardless if you are in an anxious, high stressful situation or not. It means you are present. You are practicing ways to help your mind stay in the moment, to reduce the amount of irrational thoughts, and center yourself. Some ways you can practice include: Naming 3 things you see, Repeating Phrases, and Breathing.
Let’s keep the conversation going. What are ways that you keep yourself grounded?
This is Breeze Counseling's blogspot were you can find useful tips and self-help information. Please feel free to leave your comments.