Anxiety can seem very overwhelming at times and most people find it very difficult to de-escalate it or calm it down. Anxiety like all emotions is not just in your head but also in your body, so if you’re trying to just get control of your thoughts and ignoring what is happening in your body then it is going to be very difficult to calm your anxiety down.

If you can imagine your brain is like a bus, when anxiety is feeling very strong then we would say that the anxious part of you is driving the bus. You can have many parts driving the bus, a scarred part, a guilty part or an angry part. The problem is when our emotional parts are driving the bus or in control of our thought we tend to make rushed or bad decisions, we feel overwhelmed and often react in ways we regret later. The other problem is that if your emotional parts are driving the bus then that means your wise, logical adult brain is in the back seat.

In order to get our wise, logical adult brain back in the drivers seat we need to work with both our mind and body. We need to be able to calm our body down so that the emotional part will be willing to let go of the steering wheel. That is the reason grounding techniques are so important, they aim to bring you back to the present so that you can begin to de-escalate your body and get your wise, logical adult brain back in control.

Grounding techniques are a set of tools used to assist individuals to stay in the present moment during episodes of intense anxiety or other overwhelming emotions. Staying in the present moment allows people to feel safe and in control by focusing on the physical world and how they experience it.

Grounding is easy to do but in order for you to be able to effectively, use it on a daily basis you need to train your body so that it recognises what grounding and calming down are. If you only try to use grounding and calming down techniques when things are escalating in your body and mind then you probably say “oh that doesn’t work for me”.

Grounding strategies that you can try – remember the key is to train your body to know what it is your doing; 4-5 times a day just for a minute or two.
• Hold an ice-block in your hand till it melts.
• Put an ice cold cloth on the back of your neck or face.
• List 5 things you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel.
• Stomp your feet on the ground for 2 minutes as hard as you can.
• Squeeze every muscle in your body, one at a time, from your feet to your head.
• Push your heels into the ground for 1-2 minutes feeling into the sensation.
• Carry a grounding object in your pocket to remind you each time you touch it.
• Stretch out your neck and shoulders.
• Get up and walk around, get a drink or talk to someone.
• Breath – in for 3, hold for 3 and out for 6 counts.
• Pick a category and list as many things as you can eg. Movies
• Count backwards from 100.
• Choose three sets of times tables to recite out loud.