It’s weird how the whole world is different and yet still the same in so many ways. Covid continues to rage (and evolve) and we all live with the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, never knowing when something else is going to drop or what new and frustrating measure we will have to live with next. It’s enough to make anyone anxious. A grounding therapy technique can help you deal with stress and anxiety.
Too much change can be overwhelming
So many people are living in changed circumstances. Sometimes it all seems so scary and uncertain. In the smaller context however, life goes on. The sun rises and sets, we wake up and go to sleep, we eat food to sustain us, we go about our daily routines.
And sometimes we’re stretched so thin between these two realities, it feels like we’re at breaking point.
A helpful grounding technique
When this feeling of overwhelm happens to you, a grounding therapy technique can help bring your attention into the present moment. Grounding Therapy is a technique long used in the field of psychotherapy to help people to get out of their heads and into their bodies, and thus the present moment.
Its easier than you think
It is quick, easy, doesn’t require any special tools, and you can do it anywhere. According to a bunch of research on the subject, bringing your attention into the here and now is a way of giving yourself a little break and resetting your brain, almost like a reboot. It’s super helpful to have this grounding therapy technique in your toolkit of coping skills, as we all try to renegotiate our path in the “new normal”.
Children can use it
In my work with children, I’ve found this grounding therapy technique to be particularly useful because children, with their heightened senses, can easily relate. One of my younger clients, a 10 year old called “Julie”, uses grounding techniques when she feels sad, stressed out or feels like something is wrong but she doesn’t know what it is. She even taught it to her younger brother (5) and uses it to calm him down if they’ve been fighting!
The bottom line: if you need to get out of your head, grounding really works.
Blue-footed Booby Success Formula: Grounding Therapy Technique 1 – quick and easy
- Remove your shoes
- Stand barefoot on natural textured surface (grass, the earth) and feel it with your feet
- Hug a tree (optional)
Blue-footed Booby Success Formula: Grounding Therapy Technique 2 – The 5 senses exercise
Read through these steps and then close your eyes and do these steps one at a time, without judgement, without criticising, but with focus and attention.
- Listen. Really, really listen to all the sounds around you. Do so non-judgmentally, simply hear and note all the sounds.
- Smell. What can you smell right now? What are the subtle nuances in the air that you’re normally barely aware of? Smell all the smells.
- Touch. What can you feel with your skin and body right now? Observe and note the physical sensations in and on your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
- Taste. What is the taste in your mouth right now?
- Open your eyes. Focus on an area and really look at it. What do you see? What colours and shapes and lights and shadows do you see?
Now, whether you did grounding therapy technique 1 or 2, check in with yourself. Notice how and where you feel different than before. The really cool thing with this type of grounding therapy is that it feels good!
Q: What if I don’t live near any natural surface?
A: Use method 2
Q: What happens if I get distracted?
A: Doesn’t matter. If your mind hijacks you with a thought and you lose track of what you’re doing, then just start again where you think you left off.
Q: I couldn’t taste anything in my mouth/smell anything with my nose!
A: That’s ok, then observe that the taste was neutral.
Q: I only liked doing one of the steps, I got bored with the others.
A: That is totally fine, it’s completely normal to connect more deeply with some senses than with others.
Q: I don’t have enough time to do this properly
A: Use method 1. Or, choose the one you like best and do that one.
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