Discovering the right grounding techniques for your anxiety can be one of the most beneficial and healing ways to flow with your emotions rather than against them.
Anything that numbs or ignores the emotion is only breaking the weed at the surface of the ground, rather than taking care of it from its root.
In this blog post I'm sharing grounding techniques that not only help you in the moment, but that calm the amygdala, the nervous system and help you to process the emotion instead of stuffing it down deeper.
Grounding techniques for anxiety
I recently shared my anxiety story on the blog, which took me through many different phases of fear, overwhelm and ultimately healing, understanding and a higher awareness.
I was constantly looking for answers as to what anxiety even was, what it was trying to tell me, and ways that I could help to soothe it.
It's absolutely terrifying to find yourself in a full blown anxiety attack or to be constantly plagued with a feeling of dread. The grounding techniques I'm sharing below are the few that have really helped me to reset and actually lessen my anxiety levels.
How does grounding work for anxiety?
Grounding works for anxiety by bringing you back into your body and at the same time, calming the nervous system. With anxiety, we're stuck in our heads with our fearful thoughts. The brain's amygdala then sends out smoke signals to the body that danger is near and your body is put into flight or flight mode.
This happens without most of us being consciously aware of it. When we're in this state, we are unable to grow and evolve because the body is prepared for attack, which makes it extremely difficult to get out of our heads!
It's a cycle that keeps repeating itself, which is why it's so healing to go straight to the root of your anxiety. We can numb and ignore our anxiety all we want, but that only makes it get bigger.
How can I calm my anxiety fast?
Anxiety is simply a messenger, and you wouldn't put tape over a messenger's mouth or send them away, would you? You could...but that wouldn't change anything other than whoever sent the messenger is going to use something bigger to get the message to you.
Spending some time addressing the messenger is the best way to calm your anxiety fast. Below are my 5 favorite grounding techniques for calming and addressing the messenger known as anxiety.
1. Eft tapping
This grounding technique is hands down my most favorite way to calm my anxiety. Why is it grounding?
It brings you into your body, it stimulates pressure points in the body, calms the amygdala which in turn calms the nervous system, and addresses the emotions so they can be released.
I tried many things for my anxiety, from hypnotherapy to subconscious re-training with Psych-K, and I have to say that EFT tapping was the one that brought me the most INSTANT relief.
My husband, who has experienced panic attacks and anxiety for years, even told me that this was the best technique he's ever tried. He tells his clients "This is weird, but it works, so just try it."
EFT stands for emotional freedom technique, and you are essentially tapping on the same pressure points that are stimulated with acupuncture. While you tap on these pressure points, you address your fears, emotions and scary thoughts and gradually switch over to new thoughts.
Because you're tapping on these pressure points while addressing your fears, your amygdala is trained to no longer see these thoughts as threats, and it stops sending out the smoke signals in the moment AND in the future.
You are basically telling your mind "Hey, there's no need to be alarmed by this thought, we are safe."
Here are some resources to learn more:
- The Tapping Solution app: I use this almost nightly and tap on any emotion that's coming up for me, plus the app shows you exactly how to do it and makes it extremely easy.
- The Tapping Solution book: I honestly haven't read very far into this book yet, but that's mainly because I found so much info about tapping from YouTube and the app. The book goes into more detail and I do plan to read it!
Go onto YouTube and search "eft tapping". Whatever you do, please do not dismiss this technique! Yes, it seems weird but there is science to back it up, it's been practiced for a long time, and it WORKS quickly. And not only quickly, but it creates lasting change.
If I could share only one grounding technique for anxiety, EFT tapping would be it.
2. Deep breathing
Deep breathing is my second favorite grounding technique to calm anxiety. Most of us do not breathe properly in the first place (with the belly expanding fully) and are thus not getting enough oxygen.
Deep breathing simply helps to calm the nervous system. You can feel this happening anytime you stop and take deep breaths. It's used by hypnotherapists to bring us down into slower brainwaves that are calmer for this very reason, because the mind becomes more receptive to other thoughts and ideas.
No matter where you are, you can stop and take deep belly breaths. It feels like an amazing stretch for the belly and begins to bring your awareness to the present moment.
Do it often as you remember, not just when you're experiencing anxiety. Get into the habit. The more oxygen you get to your brain, the better it's going to function.
If you notice, when you're panicked or stressed, your body is usually clenched and only taking very shallow breaths. Imagine breathing in a calming color, such as green or white, and breathing out black. The subconscious mind really clings to these visuals and that's why they're so healing.
Deep breathing will bring you into the slower brainwave frequencies similar to those found in young children and through meditation. It's an excellent, quick way to calm your system.
3. Warm shower
Water is extremely grounding and helps to reset your nervous system. My anxiety can tend to get worse at night, so one thing I make sure to do is go take a shower in the evening when I can feel myself starting to feel a little overwhelmed.
I've hung up string lights in my bathroom to lower the stimulation from overhead lighting, and the warm water with the darker environment really helps me to just calm my nerves and mind.
I started using Dr. Teal's lavender epsom salt body wash simply because the smell was therapeutic for me. You can get it on Amazon or in any store like Target. I'm not recommending that over other soaps, I'm just sharing that you can think of little things like that for your shower time that further help to relax and reset you.
Since my anxiety has shown up as a health anxiety, I also take further care to love on that part of my body. I had pain that showed up in my breast, so I like to collect special oils made specifically for breast health, and I put that on after showering while visualizing love and healing going into my breast.
Think of ways to soothe yourself further before, during and after taking a shower. It's a great time for some quiet self-love.
4. Going for a walk
Going for a walk is another amazing grounding technique for anxiety because it helps to release pent up energy as well as activates both the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Why is that important, you ask?
Because our brains can only take in new information when both sides are activated. Meditation, hypnotherapy, EFT tapping and being 6 years old or younger are all times in which both sides of our brains are activated. This is why young children are like sponges.
I like knowing this about walking because in order to begin healing from anxiety, we need to be able to take in and process new thoughts and ideas. When the brain is trapped in fear, it can't do that, so walking is an excellent way to not only ground, but to start getting your brain lit up again on both sides.
I love the meditative state I can get in while walking, and it helps me to gently release excess energy that is causing my anxiety to flare up.
5. Yoga stretching
Walking and yoga are my favorite ways to exercise since I've never been a fan of more rigorous forms of exercise. Both feel so good and are great for relieving anxiety.
There are so many free YouTube yoga videos (this one has been my favorite for the last 3 years). She has several playlists for all sorts of kinds of yoga, so there's something for beginners to more advanced.
I'm a beginner and have been for the last three years 🙂
One of the best yoga positions to do if you're experiencing anxiety is to get into child's pose and place your forehead on the mat or your hands. This stimulates the vagus nerve in your forehead and will calm your nervous system.
Another position is legs up the wall for 2-10 minutes. Simply scooch your butt up to a wall and put your legs up. This really helps to decompress your body and mind.
I hope you found these grounding techniques for anxiety helpful. These are my daily go-to's, and I do them even if I'm not experiencing anxiety. I find that the more I take care of my mind and body in this way, the less the messenger needs to show up.
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Lots of love,
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