When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, having some strategies up your sleeve to alleviate the pressure and debilitating emotions you’re feeling can be extremely useful. We’ve picked five of our favorite grounding tips for you here.
Submerge Your Hands in Water
Find a sink or bowl, and fill it with warm water, then submerge your hands in it. Focus on the sensation of the water and how it feels on your hands – can you feel it everywhere or just certain places? How does it feel when your hands move in the water? Next, tip the water out and try the process again with cold water. How does it compare to the warm water? Are you experiencing other physical changes in your body because of the temperature difference? Use the physical sensation to channel your focus outside of your mind, allowing yourself to have a mental break from your emotions.
You can make this strategy as simple or complicated as you’d like. Count backwards from 10 if you just need a quick reset, or down from 100 by twos if you need a bigger distraction. To ground yourself in your surroundings, count backwards from 5, tapping into one of your 5 senses and identifying sensations as you go. For example; 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste.
Listen to Calming Music
Whether you have Spotify, Apple Music, or even YouTube, search for calming music and hit play on the first playlist you find. Close your eyes and focus on the music, or try not to focus on anything at all. If you have headphones, this will help keep you from getting distracted by your surroundings so you can focus on the peaceful music, and on quieting your mind. Once you’ve listened for a while, open your eyes, take in your surroundings and focus on your breathing before turning the music off.
Think About an Activity You Enjoy
Another eyes-closed activity, but this time using visualisation and tapping into your imagination. You can couple this with the music strategy as well if you’d like. Close your eyes and think about an activity you enjoy doing, whether it’s baking, knitting, sitting by the fireplace with a good book, or even bungee jumping! Try to remember the process you go through with this activity; what do you see, hear and feel? Try to be as detailed with your imagination as possible. Take a moment now to decide what this activity could be for you, so when the time comes to use this technique, you already have a plan up your sleeve.
Do a Mental Body Scan
Lastly, you could try a body scan. Sit or lie still, and do a mental scan of your body, starting with your toes, all the way up to the top of your head. How do your feet feel, and what are they touching right now? Move up to your legs, your torso, your shoulders, down your arms to your fingertips, then back up your neck to the top of your head. Mentally check in with every inch of your body to recenter yourself and your thoughts. Start wiggling each of your fingers and toes one by one, counting them as you go.
Anxiety and overwhelm are a normal part of the human experience, but they don’t have to take over your entire day. Take just a couple of stolen moments for yourself with these time-tested tricks to reclaim your day in no time.