Grounding

So, you’re anxious. It happens. There are basically two things to do with anxiety. You can face it or avoid it. Avoiding it is often the sensible thing to do if it’s a thing you are not likely to encounter very often; like snakes, for instance. I’m afraid of snakes. If I got a job as a snake charmer, I would have to do something about it; otherwise, I just avoid them.

Now, if I did become a snake charmer, I would have to face my anxiety. I wouldn’t just go and grab the first snake I found and say, go ahead bite me, I dare you. No, that freaks me out just to write about it. A better method would be face my fear systematically, little by little, in circumstances in which I was likely to be successful. And, and this is most important, I would keep myself grounded.

When you are grounded, you are most alert, yet calm and in control. You can get grounded before you step into a difficult situation and it will help you keep your wits about you. If you’re already in a difficult situation, you can ground then, too. If you just left the hard situation and your nerves are still jangled, ground and you will begin to settle down. You can ground anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and no one has to know. Grounding puts healthy distance between you and negative feelings.

No, grounding is not the same as relaxing, being cool, or mellowing out. It’s not a form of meditation. It’s getting a grip on the obvious, that’s all. The general idea is to get out of your head, at least the part of your head that’s like a broken record. It’s a little like breaking a spell.

If you know how to ground, you don’t need that stiff drink, or that pill, or that cigarette, reefer, or that bag of dope. If you know how to ground, you can go anywhere, do anything, and deal with anyone, within reason.

Here’s a few general tips on grounding:

  • If you get a chance, rate your anxiety on a 10 point scale, both before and after you ground.

How to Ground- Mental Methods

  • Describe your environment in detail using neutral words. “The walls are blue, there are five red chairs, there’s fifteen photos on the wall….” Note objects, sounds, textures, colors, smells, shapes, numbers, and temperature.

How to Ground- Physical Grounding

  • Fill a bowl or pitcher with ice water and stick your hand in until it hurts.

How to Ground- Self Soothing

  • Say something nice to yourself. “You can do this. You are good. You’ll get through it.”

Notice what works for you, create new methods. If you have any to share, please add them in the comments section.

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Mental Health Counselor and Writer www.keithwilsoncounseling.com

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