When you are feeling overwhelmed, having trouble focusing, or experiencing negative emotions, grounding can help reduce stress and lower anxiety by forcing you to stay in the present moment. Learning how to ground yourself may be easier than you think, thanks to a variety of viable techniques designed to do precisely that. Some options target a physical response and others a mental response, so chances are high you will find something that works well for you. Try the following grounding methods the next time you feel uncentred or before you do something known to trigger anxiety.
How to Ground Yourself: 15 Effective Grounding Techniques
The following exercises will teach you how to be grounded, feel calm, and regain a general sense of well-being. Remember that the grounding process may differ for everyone, so experiment with several methods to find a combination that works well for you.
Method 1: Meditate
Meditation is a fantastic grounding technique that can be used to clear your mind. Concentrating on your energy and physical body takes focus away from stressors.
Sit on the floor in a comfortable position with your spine straight. You can also try lying down if that feels better at the moment. Either way, do it in a place where you can avoid distractions. With your chin tucked, pay attention to how the ground beneath your body’s weight feels. Gradually slow your breathing and attempt to clear your head of thoughts. Let your body lead so your mind can calm down and follow suit. Continue meditating until you start to feel centred and peaceful.
Method 2: Take a Walk Outdoors
Another common and effective grounding exercise involves getting outside for a stroll. The rhythmic motion of a walk combined with fresh air can boost energy and help you feel more connected to nature. If you are experiencing unusually low energy levels, try a brisk pace to help increase circulation and make you more alert. If you feel anxious or jittery, experiment with a slower pace to help promote serenity and more grounding.
If you have the option, try walking barefoot. A direct connection between your whole foot and the earth can make grounding yourself more efficient. Of course, you can only walk barefoot if you have access to a grassy area or sand.
Method 3: The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique
One of the most effective grounding exercises for anxiety and PTSD is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. It helps you bring the focus back to the present moment and reduce distressing thoughts utilising your five senses.
The process is simple and can be done anyplace, anytime. To start, list five things you can see. Then list four things you can hear, followed by three things you can feel, two things you can smell and finally, one thing you can taste. Hopefully, when you are done cycling through your senses, you will start to feel better. If not, continue grounding yourself by repeating the technique or moving on to another option.
Method 4: Workout Regularly
Exercise is a powerful grounding technique that also facilitates many health benefits for your mind and body. Most people get the best results by working out regularly, but this method can also be used as a direct response to negative energy or a need to ground yourself. You can exercise to refocus your energy, clear your mind, and release or boost energy.
Any form of exercise can help you feel more centred, but some types, like yoga, feature specific grounding techniques. Yoga focuses on grounding physically and mentally. It also accesses many balance postures that increase your connection to the earth.
Method 5: Earthing Products
Suppose you’ve ever wondered, ‘how can I ground myself to earth’ – this one is for you. A relatively new type of grounding therapy called earthing provides your body with a direct connection to the earth’s energy. It is believed that earthing can also help shield you from EMFs produced by electronic devices that may have a negative effect on the body.
The most common types of earthing products are mats and sheets. They are made from conductive materials which transfer negatively charged ions from the earth to your body via a cable and an earthing plug. While both options are similar, earthing sheets are often preferred because they facilitate many hours of consistent grounding while you sleep.
Method 6: Shift Attention to Your Feet
As you can see, grounding yourself is often achieved by focusing on something else. With this in mind, drawing your attention to your feet is another tool you can try. Several common exercises work well for centring.
Evaluate the sensations in your feet and attempt to describe them out loud. Are your feet cold? Hot? Tingly?
Remove your shoes and socks (when applicable) and touch your bare feet. Gently squeeze and massage them to improve circulation and enhance a more grounded feeling.
You can also stand on the ground with the bottom of your feet, making a direct connection to the earth. With your feet parallel at about shoulder width, stand like a tree and imagine roots growing out of your soles. Visualising them extending deep into the ground forms a connection and often produces a sense of calm.
Method 7: Cover Your Crown
Similar to focusing on your feet, shifting attention to the crown of your head can also help produce a grounding effect. This option is particularly effective if you are confused or have trouble concentrating. Conveniently, this method can be executed anywhere, at any time.
Close your eyes and place your hand on your head. Apply gentle pressure and calm your breathing. Anchor your thoughts on the feeling of warmth between your head and your hand. After about a minute, assess your emotional and physical state and repeat if needed.
Method 8: Focus On Your Breathing
Deep breathing is one of the most common grounding techniques for anxiety. It calms your sympathetic nervous system and brings a sense of awareness to your entire body, helping you stay present.
To start, observe the natural breathing pattern. Concentrate on the air leaving and entering your lungs. Then, gradually lengthen the inhales and exhales. Practice this until your breath becomes even and your body feels grounded.
A technique called square breathing has shown promising effects on anxiety and grounding. It involves inhaling for four seconds and then exhaling for four seconds.
You can also place your hand on your heart while you take deep breaths. This brings your energy to a focal point and helps you feel your breath entering and exiting your body.
Method 9: Trigger a Sensory Response
Triggering a specific sensory response will often bring you back into the moment. People with PTSD and anxiety often use this method.
Strong scents can force you to focus on a particular object and forget about stressors, even briefly. Sniff potent-smelling things like mint or coffee for a quick jolt. Or, for a calming effect, smell something more soothing like lavender.
Looking at pictures of loved ones or pets can also redirect your focus and help alleviate negative thoughts or a lack of concentration.
Touching a soft feeling object can also provide you with a soothing effect. Materials like silk, velvet, or a pet’s fur are great options.
Method 10: Distract Yourself
Try distracting yourself if active soothing techniques don’t seem to work how you would like. Doing another activity that you love can help you forget about temporary issues.
The distraction that works best for you will depend on your hobbies and preferences but listening to music or making art and crafts have proven effective for many people looking to ground themselves.
Method 11: Journal
Writing about your problems and feelings gives added perspective leading to an enhanced sense of being grounded. When you force yourself to put your emotions into words, it helps you gain self-awareness. Often, getting out your concerns also results in lowered anxiety and stress.
Method 12: Get Good Sleep
Regularly getting a good night’s sleep leads to better bodily functioning overall. It enhances moods, reduces stress, boosts concentration, and more. While getting good sleep may be easier said than done, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
Ways to Get Better Sleep:
- Limit your caffeine intake and don’t consume any after lunch
- Don’t eat for at least two hours before going to sleep
- Power down your electronics at least one hour before bedtime
- Create a nighttime routine
- Don’t take naps
- Exercise regularly
Method 13: Enjoy a Warm Bath
A warm bath can change how your body feels and create a soothing effect. If you are feeling anxious, jittery, or generally ungrounded, this fantastic option doubles as self-care.
Adding Epsom or Himalayan salt to the water can relieve minor aches and pains. Bath bombs and bubbles also enhance relaxation through smooth textures and calming scents.
Method 14: Take a Cold Shower
Adversely, taking a cold shower can be used to bring you back into the moment. However, instead of making you feel calm, it is invigorating. Cold exposure may reduce fat, boost immunity, and has been linked to triggering dopamine which elevates mood.
Method 15: Eat Healthy Foods
Nutrition is essential for sustaining your health and leads to better bodily functioning overall. As you probably already know, when you eat right, you feel good. A balanced diet helps your body perform to the best of its ability and prevent potential illness. Choosing to consume fresh fruits and vegetables as well as healthy proteins and grains improves moods and also promotes the feeling of being grounded when sustained for more than a short while. Even if you don’t feel the effects of this option straight away, its long-lasting benefits make it more than worth the trouble.
Additional Considerations: The Grounding Effect Explained
What Does Being Grounded Mean?
When someone says they feel grounded, this typically means they feel at one with their surroundings and have a general sense of stability and calm. Grounding helps you gain control over your emotions and can help you achieve better focus and engagement. While this is generally a concept and feeling, it manifests in your body, mind, and emotional state.
When Should You Practice Grounding Techniques?
Not feeling grounded can lead to myriad adverse symptoms, so it is best to perform centring activities before a problem arises. Practising grounding techniques on a daily basis can reduce a negative response when stressors arrive. However, many methods can also be used when you are in a stressful situation and want to stay connected.
Common Signs You May Benefit From Grounding Exercises:
- Poor sleep quality
- Poor circulation
- Nausea or a tight stomach
- Fast breathing
- Dry mouth
- Feeling uncomfortable
What Are the Positive Effects of Feeling Grounded?
In addition to an overall sense of content and well-being, feeling grounded comes with a myriad of benefits. When you find the right combination of centring methods, you should notice a difference in how your emotional and physical state.
Potential Grounding Benefits:
- Reduced inflammation
- Minimised emotional stress and anxiety
- An improved immune response
- Enhanced moods
- Better focus and concentration
- Promotion of better sleep quality
- More energy throughout the day
- A boosted immune response
Stay Grounded Moving Forward
The next time you feel stressed or uncentred, you now have an arsenal of grounding techniques to explore. Learning how to ground yourself may take a few attempts. Experiment with the options that sound appealing to you until you find the right plan of attack for your needs. Remember, it may take some time to achieve the desired results and often, using multiple methods is more effective.
If you are looking for more guidance on how to relieve stress, consult your doctor. They may be able to help you find relief in a more targeted manner based on your body and specific concerns.
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