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Mindset & Grounding Techniques can be an important aspect to your wellness journey. In fact, mindset is a big part of wellness that often gets overlooked. Grounding techniques are one relatively easy, and inexpensive, tool to help you.
What Is Mindset?
Mindset is the outlook you have on life. It’s the way we see or perceive the world around us, which could be clouded with our own prejudices or experiences clouding the bigger picture. Our mindset, or set of beliefs we have about the world, influences how we think, feel and behave in certain situations. A healthy mindset would be one that could see the world as it is without judgment or prejudice. Not an easy task.
Often times, especially for those with painful or traumatic childhoods or life experiences, or those experiencing anxiety for other reasons, people have difficulties getting or maintaining a positive mindset. Grounding is one method to help you.
What is Grounding?
Grounding techniques are practices that help individuals reconnect with the present moment and/or their physical environment. These simple techniques can include deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, and other sensory-based activities that help individuals focus on their surroundings and tune out distracting thoughts, memories or emotions.
Individuals who practice grounding techniques seem better able to regulate their emotions and reduce anxiety, stress, and other negative feelings. This can lead to a more positive mindset, a greater sense of well-being and a stronger stress bucket..
Overall, practicing grounding techniques can be a powerful tool for strengthening or emptying your stress bucket, improving mental health and promoting a positive mindset. By staying grounded in the present moment, you can cultivate a greater sense of calm, focus, and emotional resilience. Now let’s talk about how to do this!
5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
I really like the simple grounding technique I found at therapistaid.com. They have a printable worksheet on their site that makes this easy to put on your refrigerator as a reminder! It’s basically counting backwards and using your senses to take in your surroundings. Just do the following:
Look for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can sell, and one thing you can taste. Try to notice small details that you tend to overlook such as colors, texture, and sounds that tend to blend into the background. Right now as I sit at my desk I’m noticing the directions of the tree branches of a particular tree outside the window, the way the edge of the desk feels on my arms as I type, the sound of a dish being put on the counter in the kitchen, the smell of the shrimp in my lunch dish, and the taste of the lemon peel that was in my last bite.
Please don’t expect ‘magic’ the first time you try any of the exercises below. Mindfulness and grounding techniques take practice. The more you do these and make them a general daily practice, the more powerful they become as tools in your wellness basket. They will aid you in times of stress and anxiety and assist you through difficult moments.
14 More Grounding Techniques
All of us are unique. If the 5-4-3-2-1 didn’t work or just doesn’t suit you, here’s more techniques to try. Practice each technique several times. Find which ones work for you best and try one or two next time you find you need grounding.
Take 10 really slow deep breaths. After inhaling slowly, take even more time to exhale. Focus on your breathing and how your body feels.
The Jesus Prayer
Take a few deep breaths and make the sign of the cross. Say the Jesus Prayer (Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me). Repeat the prayer, slowly and with focused intention, for at least two minutes. See more about the Jesus Prayer here.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Remember that song? “I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad”. It really is a good idea! Just sit or stand and make a mental note in your head of about 25 of your favorite things. Hopefully by the time you think of 25 you are feeling a little comforted and calm. If not, try to think of more.
Some people love math. I’m not one of them but hey, this can still work. Just start counting. Just counting to ten will probably not do the trick. Of course it depends on the situation. For smaller things, counting to ten may be enough. But sometimes you may need to count to 100. Counting backwards may work as well. Or simply start doing math problems in your head. Try 503 plus 297. Just take a few minutes and try thinking math.
What’s your favorite music? In particular, what’s your favorite soothing music? For me it’s Pachelbel’s Canon in D. I have this particular CD in my kitchen and will play it when I need grounding or when I just need to lower my stress level during the making dinner hour. It’s definitely good grounding music for me. But you may have something different that works. And maybe it’s not even what might be considered ‘soothing’. Maybe what works for you is something that gets you dancing 😉
Drinking water is hydrating but can be a grounding experience as well. Pour a glass of water at the temperature you prefer. Feel the glass. Hold it to your forehead. Feel the coolness of the glass. Take a moment to sit down and really focus on the water as you drink. Drink slowly. Think about places in nature you find water. A bubbling brook. The sea. A pond with the birds singing. A comforting hot drink does well here too. I’m thinking a cup of hot lemon balm or chamomile tea. Don’t forget to hold that mug in our hands and focus on the warmth it offers – assuming it’s not too hot of course!
Spend Time With Your Pets
I’m working on this one- been looking for a puppy for a few months right now. Dogs have always been a sort of grounding tool for me. In the meantime, we have a cat that is actually pretty darn affectionate. Taking a few minutes to just sit quietly with an animal, petting them, talking with them, and just enjoying the soft warm snuggles can be grounding and beneficial to your mindset.
This one is similar to the Thinking Math technique. But instead of numbers, it’s words. Just refocus your mind by thinking up some long words to spell inside your head or on paper. The idea is to just refocus on something else for a while that incorporates thinking skills. The longer the word, the more you may need to focus.
Take Your Snack Outside
First, I encourage you to choose a healthy snack. However, I will be honest and tell you if it was me I’d be looking for some chocolate. But, hey, there are benefits to cocoa too. Take your snack and go outside. Breathe in the fresh air, take a look at your surroundings. Bite into that snack and really taste it, feel it and savor the moment. Stay outdoors for at least several minutes. 5-15 minutes would be better. Focus on every bite. Eat it s l o w l e y…
Take a Walk
Leave your current environment and go take a long walk. Practice deep breathing while walking. Count your breaths, always making the exhale longer than the inhale. Notice the trees, houses, or clouds. Count objects there are more than one of around you. Notice the colors. Look for things of various shapes and sizes.
Whether it’s yoga or another form of stretching, take a few minutes to just stretch your body. Again, focus on your breathing. Feel where your body is and the movements you make. Focus on releasing physical tension and how you feel as several minutes pass by.
Just the Facts
Talk to yourself. Yes, I’m totally giving you permission. But just stick to the facts. Say your name. Your age. Your address. It’s all about reminding yourself who you are and just focusing on facts, not emotions. Keep going. Tell yourself what you ate today. Say what you are wearing. Just stay focused for a few minutes on you and the facts. Try to keep your breathing calm and steady.
Use a guided meditation app or YouTube video to do guided imagery. Keep your breathing calm and steady.
Journaling is a great grounding exercise. Writing about the things that make you anxious is a worthwhile activity and can be therapeutic. I tend to think if you are seeking grounding in an anxious moment, it can help, but if you find it makes you more anxious to do at that time, try journaling about peaceful things or write in a gratitude journal.
Mindset & Grounding Techniques In Summary
Again, practicing grounding techniques can be a powerful tool. Try each one of the above techniques at least once and see how they feel. I just popped in my Pachelbel CD this evening while focusing on a nice juicy strawberry as a calming technique. I think sometimes it’s not even the technique itself that matters as much as the mindfulness of doing SOMETHING to calm yourself. The action will help maintain your stress bucket and help promote a positive mindset. Work on staying grounded in the present moment. See if it helps you find that greater sense of calm, focus, and lead to overall wellness!
What grounding technique is already familiar to you? Which one strikes you as one you should try?