Updated: Oct 23, 2020
At times when things become a bit overwhelming our minds and bodies can go into overdrive. We know at this point that we need to ground and bring ourselves back to a calmer inner state. Cultivating self-composure allows us to defuse the sometimes debilitating thoughts and feelings thus enabling us to concentrate on the everyday.
Below I have outlined a variation of grounding techniques that can be used to centre a mind that is spiraling out of control. The beauty of these techniques is that they can be performed anywhere and anytime. However, when practicing them it is important to do so with kindness and compassion for the self.
Dropping the Anchor
A technique taken from Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) that allows you to use the environment and your senses as the anchor.
What are 5 things you can see? Look for small details such as a patterns, movements within your environment or an object you never noticed.
What are 4 things you can feel? Notice the sensation of clothing on your body, the sun on your skin, the feeling of the chair you are sitting in or your feet on the ground.
What are 3 things you can hear? The sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, the song of a bird, or rustling trees blowing in the wind.
What are 2 things you can smell? Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an air freshener or freshly mowed grass. You may also look around for something that has a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle.
What is 1 thing you can taste? You’ll need a small snack, like a piece of fruit or mixed nuts, for this step. After you’ve bitten into, say, an apple, focus your attention closely on the flavours, the texture and how it feels in your mouth.
Using the categories below name as many items as you can think of and then once done move onto the next one. Even adding your own categories as you go along.
Fruits & Vegetables
A small exercise to help build the mind-body connection, whilst integrating the present moment experience.
1. Take 5 long, deep breaths through your nose, and exhale. Notice the cool air enter your nostrils and the warm air leave.
2. Place both feet flat on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Curl and uncurl your toes several times. Spend a moment noticing the sensations in your feet and the contact with the ground.
3. Noticing where your hands are placed, on your lap or by your side.
4. Use one hand to gently go round the outline of your other hand.
5. Notice the texture, the temperature and the sensations of your hands as they make contact. Then repeat on the other hand.
6. Reach your hands up over your head as though you’re trying to reach the sky. Stretch like this for 5 seconds. Bring your arms down and let them relax at your sides.
7. Take 5 more deep breaths and notice the feeling of calm in your body.
These exercise can be used to take your mind away from difficult thoughts and feelings allowing them to pass naturally by. Included in this section is a few physical activities which are not only good for our health but also release feel good chemicals – such as endorphins and serotonin – into our system.
• Name all the objects you see.
• Describe the steps in performing an activity you know how to do well.
• Count backwards from 100 by 7.
• Pick up an object and describe it in detail.
• Spell your full name, and the names of three other people, backwards.
• Complete a crossword
• Create a family tree.
• Creative/free drawing
• Go out for a walk or a run
• Complete an exercise that you enjoy