Why are Grounding Techniques Important? Tips on How to Implement it in your Day to Day.
Have you heard or come across a statement from a friend or colleague, people, “I have to stay grounded or present,” and have been curious about what it means? If you are unsure, I am here to explain what grounding techniques are defined as, their benefits, and tips on implementing them in your daily life. As grounding is part of a mindfulness technique, think about it as the first step in exercising mindfulness
“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf “. -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sometimes mindfulness can be a challenge to incorporate into your daily routine if you are uncertain how to or not open to trying. Practicing mindfulness can sometimes feel like it is not for us; however, we could be willing to be patient with ourselves and think of it as a “process.” According to the Collins English Dictionary, “A Process is a series of actions which are carried out in order to achieve a particular result.” We’ve all heard the accurate expression that practice makes it an improvement. I want to let you know that we have participated in some form of mindfulness and are unaware of it, to name a few, taking walks, listening to music, going to the gym, dancing, singing, baking, watching favorite shows/movies, walking your dog, bike ride, going to the park, reading and drawing.
Nonetheless, I want you to take a minute to reflect on certain situations or spaces where it was challenging for you to be in the present moment and continue to find yourself overthinking, having negative or challenging emotions, focusing on the past, worrying about the future, distracted, disconnected with yourself because reality is too painful to feel, cannot control your thoughts, being in denial, you name it. Grounding techniques are coping approaches that bring you back to the present, self-management for times of stress, depression, or anxiety; and when your mind and body become reactive and go to a place of trauma. It can assist in managing anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD flashback, dissociation, self-harm urges, substance use disorder, eating disorders, unwanted memories, and depression. Here are a few tips for grounding techniques you can utilize to be in the present moment:
- 5-4-3-2-1 method- focuses on your senses and being in touch with your surroundings or environment, such as five things you see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch and feel, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
- Deep breathing (diaphragmatic, also known as belly breathing)- Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes; take one hand and place it on your chest, the other hand on your stomach above your belly button, now inhale through your nose with the count of 4 and making sure your belly is fully expanded, hold the breath to the count of 7 and exhale through your mouth for the of count 8.
- Body scan- emphasizes the different parts of your body, such as sensations. For example, find a comfortable seating place where you are in contact with a chair/bed/floor/pillow, and pay attention to your body by scanning it from head to toe for sensations that you are feeling, such as heart rate, pressure on the chest, clenched jaw, butterflies in the stomach, tingling, trembling and others.
- Put your hands in warm to cold water- Concentrate on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingers, or splash it on your face.
- Recite something- think about something you know by heart, maybe a song, a quote, poem, and quietly recite it to yourself or in your head.
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