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How Grounding Calms You Down

Anxiety is a part of life. Even when positive events occur, such as accepting an award or planning a party or wedding, anxiety can occur regarding the success of the event or how people will get along with each other. Of course, anxiety also exists during stressful events such as taking a test, driving in heavy traffic, being in a new situation, having illness, suffering injuries, and experiencing conflicts. Excessive anxiety might make you feel spaced out, scattered, and unable to focus on the situation at hand. Grounding techniques can help you to calm down as you face each situation or relationship. Several grounding techniques are described below.

The most basic and important grounding technique is deep breathing.This involves taking long, slow, deep breaths all the way down to your diaphragm.Deep breathing sends extra oxygen to your brain to help you calm down, think more clearly, size up the situation, and respond appropriately.

While you’re breathing deeply, also ground yourself by focusing on your senses.Ask yourself these questions.What are three things that I see right now?What are three things that I hear right now?What are three things that I smell right now?What are three things that I physically feel right now?What are three things that I emotionally feel right now?Answering these questions helps you to anchor in your body in the present time, so that you can pay attention to the situation that you’re currently facing.If your anxiety is very high, have cold air blow on your face from the air conditioner or refrigerator, or put a piece of ice on your skin.This will help you to quickly return to your body in the present moment.If you can, while you are deeply breathing, go on a short walk, even up or down the stairs, or just to the mailbox and back.

If your anxiety is severe and hard to manage, or if it lasts for days, weeks, or longer, then outpatient psychotherapy can help you to develop and practice strategies to manage your anxiety and the situations connected to it.Feel free to call me at 512-687-3436 for an appointment.You can start practicing a calmer, more grounded life today!

~Linda Eldredge, Ed.D., Psychologist

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