How to Practice Grounding Exercises

Wellness Resources
May 10, 2021
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Really quick, what are grounding exercises? These are any practices that help “ground” you into the present moment. By connecting with your sense of self, and the world around you, grounding techniques help combat feelings of anxiety, overwhelming thoughts, and stress.

Grounding is extremely beneficial to your mental health and is something you can easily incorporate throughout your day. Read on to get grounded.


Tune into Your Senses

One of the quickest ways to relieve anxiety and feel grounded in the present moment is to notice what you see, taste, smell, touch, and hear in a given moment. We all interact with the world around us through these five senses, and when we intentionally pay attention to what we are taking in, we practice releasing our distracting thoughts.

To use this grounding technique, simply note what you are sensing at this moment. You can start with a 5-4-3-2-1 method: notice five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This technique is a tried and true resource use to manage anxious feelings. Keep cycling through the senses as many times as you need to until you feel you have come back to the present.

If there is one of the five senses that you feel particularly attuned to, practice honing in your focus on that sense regularly throughout the day. I personally feel access to a sense of calm through my sense of smell, so I light incense and use essential oils all the time throughout my day. Perhaps you feel centered with the taste of your morning coffee, or the sounds of nature. Notice what feels most soothing to you and practice giving your focus to those elements regularly.

Move Your Body

You do not need to complete an intense high intensity workout to feel the grounding effects of movement. Going for a walk, practicing yoga, stretching, or anything else your body feels drawn to can quickly bring your mind away from anxious thoughts and into the present moment. While you move, consciously notice how your body feels. You may also tie this to your five senses, as you pay attention to how the breeze feels on your arms on a walk outdoors, or notice the sounds of relaxing music as you stretch.

Movement allows you to clear your mind and get into your body. Through exercise, you can bring focus to your breathing and physical sensations. Next time you’re feeling anxious, rather than push through it, take a walk around the block and notice how much lighter you feel!


Get into Nature

Being outdoors is an amazing way to feel grounded. You can blend this with the other techniques above, incorporating movement and sensory awareness while in nature. One classic practice is feeling the earth on your bare feet. Whatever outdoor area you have available to you – whether it’s a yard, a beach, even a patch of grass – I encourage you to get barefoot and make contact with it! Wiggle your toes in the grass, Take a moment and connect with the sensation of making physical contact with nature.

Even if you don’t go the barefoot route, make an effort to get outside for the grounding effects of nature. Breathe the fresh air, look around and observe your surroundings.

Create a Grounding Toolkit

Once you’ve tested out some grounding techniques, you begin to have an arsenal of skills to use in times of anxiety. As you try things, find your favorite strategies. Hone in on the things that felt most calming and make them regular parts of your life. Maybe you use an essential oil, listen to music that helps you focus, or ground your feet in the grass. Find the tools that are most helpful to you and keep them on hand. When in a state of high anxiety, your emotions may take hold of you. Perhaps it feels like you are not in the present moment, and it can be quite distressing. Having strategies on hand that you can easily turn to can help you create a calming sensation more quickly.

Every Liberate class includes tips and challenges that can serve you as additional techniques to add to your toolkit. Remember that taking care of your mental health is a practice. Just like going to the gym to work out, take care of your mental fitness by joining a class.

By Katherine DiMaggio

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