Staying Grounded Helps My Anxiety
Staying grounded is important to anxiety management because anxiety affects everyone at some point. I once read something that said that we experience anxiety because of focusing on memories or worrying about things that have not yet happened. I know that, for myself, this tends to be true. I have often found myself worrying about things I need to do the next day, or going through "what ifs," second-guessing social interactions due to my social anxiety, or stuck in thoughts about things that have happened in the past.
When I am stuck in these cycles of unproductive thinking, my anxiety begins to skyrocket. Immediately, my heart starts to race, I feel light-headed, and my stomach is in knots. If this happens at night, I have a hard time sleeping because my thoughts are spinning out of control.
There was a time that this happened often. I can recall a time when I was going through a lot of stress, and I found that I spent many sleepless nights suck in this cycle of worry, regret, and second-guessing. Through purposeful use of coping strategies and leaning on my support system, this does not happen nearly as often as it used to. But I think the key is that I recognize this is something that I deal with, and because I am aware of the struggles that I have, I am mindful of what I can do to manage them.
So, what I have found is that I need to stay grounded. I think this is key in managing anxiety, especially when feeling this way. Rather than focus on what might be, or what has been, I need to focus on the moment.
Strategies I Use for Staying Grounded
I realize that staying grounded can be challenging. I've talked to many people who feel they can't help themselves but continue to worry about things, whether it is in the past or the future. This is something I can completely understand, and simply writing this article is a reminder to myself that I need to use these strategies rather than focus on things that I'm anxious about, especially during these uncertain times in the world.
Strategies I use to stay grounded include:
- Exercise -- This is a technique that I use that means a great deal to me. I work out five to seven days a week, and during that time that I work out, I focus solely on what I am doing, and my mind does not wander. In the middle of today's pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to get exercise. You can work out in your garage, get out and take a walk -- anything that can get you moving and active.
- Focusing on the senses -- Be aware of what you smell, see, hear, and touch. Focusing on these things allows you to stay in the present moment rather than slipping back into the past or propelling yourself into the future. When I recognize my symptoms of anxiety, this is my sign to myself that I need to stop, take slow, deep breaths, and focus on each sense, one at a time.
- Doing something enjoyable -- Similar to exercising, distraction by doing something enjoyable is a great way to help stay focused on the present, whether it is watching a movie, reading a book, playing with your pet -- whatever you like to do that can draw you from those unproductive thoughts. Aside from exercising, I will often read or watch a movie with my family. By focusing on the present, your brain is then not stuck in the negative feelings associated with what you were worried about.
Try different grounding techniques to see what is helpful for you. Share how you're staying grounded in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2020, August 25). Staying Grounded Helps My Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2020/8/staying-grounded-helps-my-anxiety
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
Right now, perhaps more than ever, grounding is something everyone can benefit from. I love your suggestions, particularly incorporating the senses. This is such an easily applicable one and because of that, it can actually be the most powerful, especially in a pinch. No matter where we are, we can always tune in to our senses and use them to help bring us back to present, breathe, and find some "ground".
That's such a great point that we can quickly focus on our senses to keep us grounded at any time, wherever we are. I find that this is helpful for me if I feel quickly overwhelmed about something. Thank you so much for your comments!