Grounding for anxiety
Take care of your body to take care of your mind!
It’s important to build a strong foundation:-
- Drink plenty of water or sugar free squash – 2L a day.
- Eat 3 meals a day and include 5 portions of fruit and vegetables.
- Get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep – As teenage brains are going through a major transition more sleep might be necessary!
- Practise ‘Grounding’ – see below for more information on ‘grounding’ and ungrounded.
- Exercise – Do whatever you enjoy. Walking, cycling, swimming, football, netball, running, rugby etc. Exercising releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in your body. Endorphins are also referred to as ‘feel good hormones’.
- Make your bedroom a ‘no electronics’ zone. No phones, laptops, TV, computers or I-pads.
What is grounding?
Grounding is bringing your focus to what is happening to you physically, either in your body or in your surroundings instead of being trapped by the thoughts in your mind that are causing you to feel anxious.
Being ungrounded – What does it mean?
If you are ungrounded you may experience the following:-
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Struggling to think clearly
- Unable to sleep
- Feeling anxious
- Unable to relax, unwind or switch off
- Poor attention on a task/lack of concentration
- Poor co-ordination
- On high alert – in fight, flight or freeze response
- Struggling to think clearly
- With young people it might be useful to use the simple 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 - 1 grounding technique. This is 5 = things you can see, 4 = things you can feel, 3 = things you can hear, 2 = things you can smell, 1 = thing you can taste. These can be listed out loud or listed in the mind – whichever is preferred. This technique can help to break the cycle of anxious thoughts, return to the present and reset the mind.
- The breath is key - make them aware of their out breath. Get them to breathe on their hands as they breathe out so that they can feel it or make a sound as they exhale.
- Get them to notice their feel the weight of their feet on the floor/ground. Stand on the floor or the grass outside (if possible) with no shoes on. Imagine that you are connecting to the ground. It will help to ground the energy (emotional, physical and mental.
There are many health benefits to walking barefoot on grass or sand (also known as ‘earthing’) these include:-
- Reduction in muscle tension
- Helps reduce headaches
- Improves the immune system
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves blood pressure
- Improves sleep
- Reduces pain
Counting Breath meditation in 3 easy steps:-
- Sit comfortably or lie down, close your eyes, relax your body and breathe normally for a few breaths.
- Focus your attention on your breathing, each time you breathe out count silently in your head. Start at one, then as you breathe out count two, then three, then four, then five. When you get to five, start counting again.
- Feel the air going in and out as you breathe. If your mind starts to wonder and you are thinking of other things, gently bring your attention back to counting. You will find yourself getting very relaxed or sleepy, which is good!