Psychological conditions like anxiety, depression and other stress disorders can make it difficult for us to remain connected to the present moment. Anxiety is often characterized by a real or perceived danger that might cause an adrenaline rush. There might also be an influx of thoughts that might not be in control of the person affected by it. Since the body is in a state of fight or flight, it is difficult for the person to be in the moment. Grounding techniques or exercises can make a person be in the moment or help them come back into reality.
These skills can be helpful in managing overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety and can provide immediate relief. Grounding is known to relax our ‘lizard brain’ or the limbic system associated with the perception of threat. They can also help get you help from painful flashbacks and uncomfortable emotions that are too difficult to handle.
Physical grounding techniques
Grounding usually involves two methods, sensory awareness and mental work. The sensory techniques make use of the five senses. It could be like dipping your palms in water, trying to feel its temperature with your fingertips. Other ways of activating your senses could be picking up and touching the items near you, breathing deeply, holding a piece of ice, thinking about a fragrance, and figuring out how it makes you feel. One can also find a way back to reality by listening more attentively to the surrounding, what noises one can hear, thinking about the language spoken and feeling other things going on in the background.
Grounding exercises can also include a conscious body scan. It could include activities like focusing on your body from head to toe. Noticing the weight of your hair on your shoulder or how your stomach feels, whether is it full or empty, how the floor feels, whether is it warm, cold or neutral. One can also curl their fingers or toes to see how it makes one feel.
Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method
In order to make a person come back to reality, experts make use of a sensory technique that can bring a person’s attention back to reality. It involves the following steps-
Seeing 5 things around you
Touching 4 things around you
Hearing 3 things
Trying to smell 2 things around you
Tasting 1 thing in your immediate surrounding.
Anxiety occupies your upper body
Anxiety involves a fight-or-flight response. It happens alongside the activating of the sympathetic nervous system. Since the nerves associated with the response are more or less located in the upper part of the body, anxiety occupies or is concentrated more on the upper body. As per experts, shifting our focus on to the lower body like taking notice of the sensations in the toe can shift our awareness almost immediately. One can also visualize anxiety as energy and can make it move from the upper body to the lower end with one’s imagination.
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