How To Stay Grounded When Anxiety Attacks - COPE

How To Stay Grounded When Anxiety Attacks

When anxiety attacks, a single worry or thought can lead to restlessness, rapid breathing, sweating, and an increased heart rate. Once the physical symptoms begin to take over, anxiety can feel that much more impossible to overcome.

Regardless of how your anxiety manifests, or of the symptoms you experience, anxiety will almost always make you feel anything but grounded, as it’s likely the anxious thoughts you experience are about something that has already happened or hasn’t happened yet.

Grounding techniques are beneficial tools for remaining calm and grounded in the face of whatever mental, emotional, or physical symptoms anxiety throws your way. The next time your anxiety attacks, try one of the following methods to help break your anxious thought patterns or dwelling by cultivating more awareness of yourself and your surroundings.

The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique engages your senses by incorporating an easy-to-remember counting method to help you direct your attention to things other than your thoughts. Starting with 5, you will move through your senses and take a mental note of the following: 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Visualize Your Happy Place

The next time you find yourself feeling anxious, close your eyes or keep a soft gaze on something and bring the image of a beautiful and peaceful place to mind. This place might be somewhere you have already been or a place you use your imagination to create. Incorporate as many details as you can – if it’s you sitting on a beach alone by the ocean, imagine yourself listening to the crashing waves and smelling the salty sea.

Go For a Walk Outside

Walking outside is a beneficial and simple way to overcome anxiety as you use your senses to tune into your surroundings. You might choose to notice the smells or sounds of nature or how it feels when your feet hit the ground, finding a rhythm and establishing a link between your breath and your movements.

Take Deep Breaths

When anxiety attacks, practice deep breathing. Take long, deep, and slow inhales and exhales. Each time you inhale, you might choose to count four to five seconds in your head. Alternatively, as you inhale, you might say to yourself, “inhale calm,” and as you exhale, repeat, “exhale worry.” As you breathe deeply, focus on how it feels to expand your lungs, filling them up with air, then use your focus to follow the breath as you push the air back out slowly.

Try Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a helpful technique for overcoming anxiety because it trains you to focus your awareness on the present moment. You can practice this by sitting and observing the present moment as it is. When you notice your thoughts wander, make a mental note of your thoughts and release self-judgment as you let them pass, each time returning your attention to the present.

When you experience anxiety, it’s like your mind is on autopilot. Mindfulness activates parts of the brain that are generally not activated when we let our thoughts take control. Mindfulness meditation can help reduce your anxious thoughts by reminding you that you are not your thoughts.