Grounding techniques are strategies to anchor a person in the present moment and reduce anxiety, panic, or stress. Here are some of the most common techniques, along with examples:
5-4-3-2-1 Sensory Grounding: This technique focuses on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. For example, "I see a plant, a picture on the wall, a lamp, a window, and my hands. I feel the soft carpet under my feet, the couch cushions, the cool metal doorknob, and my phone. I hear the birds chirping, the car passing by, and the sound of my own breath. I smell the flowers and my own soap. I taste the toothpaste in my mouth."
Body scan: This involves slowly focusing on each part of your body and releasing any tension you find. For example, "I start with my toes, noticing any tightness or tension. I move up to my ankles, my calves, my knees, my thighs, my hips, my stomach, my chest, my arms, my hands, my neck, my jaw, my eyes, my forehead, and finally my scalp. I release any tension as I go and notice how my body feels relaxed and calm."
Deep breathing: This involves taking slow, deep breaths to slow your heart rate and calm your mind. For example, "I take a deep breath in through my nose, counting to four. I hold my breath for four counts. I exhale slowly through my mouth for four counts. I repeat this several times, focusing on the sound and feeling of my breath."
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to release tension and increase relaxation. For example, "I start with my toes, tensing them for five seconds and then releasing. I move up to my calves, my thighs, my hips, my stomach, my chest, my arms, my neck, and finally my face. I notice the contrast between the tension and the relaxation and how my body feels more relaxed with each muscle group I release."
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and observing your thoughts without judgment. For example, "I sit in a comfortable position and close my eyes. I focus on my breath and the sensation of my body. I notice any thoughts that come up, but I don't get caught up in them. I simply observe them and return to focusing on my breath. I continue for five to ten minutes, noticing how my mind and body feel more relaxed and centered."