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Top 21 Anxiety Grounding Techniques

21 anxiety grounding techniques to help you cope with stress, anxiety, panic and PTSD. From Kate White. Treating Anxiety Blog.

Sometimes the worst stress comes from the things that are all too terribly familiar. There are times that anxiety can make even daily tasks seem insurmountable, even though I’ve done them countless times before. I know it’s something I can do, it’s just that in that moment it’s implausible, nigh on impossible I could do it again.

What makes simple tasks so hard?

What thoughts or behaviours prevent you from feeling confident about tasks you’re familiar with but which create anxiety regardless?

One incredibly common example for anxiety sufferers is picking up the phone to call a friend. Intellectually you’re aware you’ll probably have a great conversation. But anxiety magnifies every difficult emotion, negative thought or sign of hesitation.

Treat Anxiety with Grounding Skills

tree_of_life_grounding_anxietyIf you want to stop feeling “spacey,” or you feel yourself slipping into the spiral of anxiety, try some of these helpful anxiety management techniques:

  1. Bring up today’s newspaper on the web, notice the date. Read something fun!
  2. Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting fear and worry go, evaporating along with each breath.
  3. Trace your hands against the physical outline of your body. Experience your own presence in the world.
  4. Call a friend and have a chat.
  5. If you are feeling ‘stuck’, change how you’re positioned. Wiggle your fingers, tap your feet. Pay attention to the movement: You are in control of what your body is doing, right here and now.
  6. Eat or drink something. Is it hot, or cold? Sweet, or sour?
  7. Meditate, if that’s OK for you. Otherwise use distractions like television or music to help settle down.
  8. Use your voice. Say your name or pick up a book and read the first paragraph you find out loud.
  9. Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even if that’s the last thing you feel like! How does that feel? What can you see? (If  negative thoughts come to mind, write them down to look at later but let them go for now. You’re anxious enough as it is.)
  10. Write out what’s going on. Keep writing until you start to notice it makes a difference, lets some of the things you’re anxious about out.
  11. Take a shower/bath. Notice the sensations of the water.
  12. Write somebody you care about an email.
  13. Imagine yourself in a familiar, comfortable place. Feel the safety. Know it.
  14. Take a look outside. Count the number of trees and street signs.
  15. Exercise. Jump up and down on the spot. Try some gentle yoga, or ride a bike.
  16. Hold onto something comforting. Maybe a blanket or an old stuffed toy.
  17. Laugh. Even if that’s hard. Just the act of laughing about something, anything can break that spinning out of control feeling.
  18. When you’re not too stressed, make a list of the things that provoke your anxiety. Take it to your therapist and ask them to help you find ways to desensitize you to some of those things. Then those triggers won’t be quite so powerful, and your anxiety coping skills will work better.
  19. If you get PTSD flashbacks, when you’re feeling OK, make a list of the furniture in your home and what room it’s in. Give the list to a friend you can call to help you focus on what’s now and safe.
  20. List 5 really positive things in your life. Put the list where you’ll see it and remember that there’s more to the world than just panic and fear.
  21. Think about the last week. Was there a day you didn’t have so much anxiety? Remember how it felt to be less anxious than you are right now. What was different? What can change?

Once you’ve found which techniques help, make a list to put on your wall, or carry in your pocket.

26 thoughts on “Top 21 Anxiety Grounding Techniques”

  1. This is a great list of grounding methods, Kate. I’d like to suggest one more: earthing. Take off your shoes and socks and plant your feet directly on the earth. It’s a powerful way to ground yourself when you’re feeling anxiety. Research suggests that 20 minutes of earthing a day can also heal a host of ailments — especially issues related to inflammation.

  2. I get verry angist all the time I have fight with my mom and dad there both in there late 80eighties I yell and scream all the time don’t now what to due due you have any thoughts on what I can due about my problems I go for therapy now at bridges that in Milford please help me

    1. Michael mom’s and pops probably are the last people that you want to yell at but they are the ones that are there with you in the middle of the traffic ….is it anxiety or anger you feel and what triggers it?

  3. My anxiety comes during driving and oral examination when talking with someone.
    Cannot talk between group of people.
    Heart racing before start of examination( any type of exam )
    I now medicine made it worse .

  4. I am in a relationship with an amazing lady. She suffers from CPTSD but would rather think she is normal than to deal with the issue. We have random arguments about anything that brings stress. Everything seems to be worst case as soon as the stress hits. We cannot afford counseling. I have forwarded these techniques to her hopefully this could be the start of something good for her. She used to get locked up in a house for days at a time. I don’t want her to re-live the experience so I don’t push for details. She wants help. My help. I have her safe she still has to deal with the person who caused the trauma because they have kids together. She deserves to have some peace.

  5. Listening to calming music can help you relax. Its best to do it without headphones. Also walking in a park can help reduce anxiety I find. Also I have stopped drinking soda drinks and that helps too.

  6. My anxiety is what I call normal except driving. Up or down mountains, twisting roads I fall apart crying an sick to my stomach this is bad as I’m a traveler for work any words of advice would be appreciated thk you

  7. I have had anxiety from a child but didn’t know what was happening , I still have the attacks I can’t handle them once I have one it affects my whole day, they just come their is nothing that triggers them?just last night I had one & it was me thinking about my mom dieing that happens a lot , then it could be any one in my family even my dogs & sometimes I have 1000 things going thew my head I get up walk around & it doesn’t do any good, I take meds for it but it doesn’t work sometimes , but I will try some of what’s on the list & hope for the best , Thank you for the list!

  8. This is a great list. Pointed out to me by my Fiance who is very supportive! I have just been having an anxiety attack and he sent this to me and it helped in literally seconds!! Thank you Kate White

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