Did you know that 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder? Yup, they’re super common, and if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you are far from alone.
While anxiety disorders are not easily “curable” there are certainly many coping skills and grounding techniques for anxiety that can make your anxiety much more manageable and help melt stress away.
By the way, you don’t have to have an anxiety disorder to experience anxiety. During stressful times or major life changes (like a pandemic, hello!) even people who are normally pretty calm can experience high levels of anxiety.
To anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed, anxious, scared, or worried right now, we’re right there with you, and we’re here to help you feel less stress.
So, how do you handle stress and pressure? Here are 6 grounding techniques for anxiety to help you get by.
1. Be kind to yourself
Many people with anxiety spend way too much time beating themselves up for having anxiety. Do you know where that’ll get you? Nowhere. When you’re in a state of high anxiety, practice self-compassion. Talk to yourself (either out loud or in your head) as if you were calming down a loved one who was in a state of panic. This can help you have less stress.
For example, instead of thinking “Oh my god this is so annoying why do you have to be this way!? This is so stupid and I hate it and I’m going to lose my mind,” say “It’s okay that I’m feeling this way. I’m not any less of a person because I have anxiety. I’ve gotten through this before, and I’ll get through it again.”
You’ll be surprised at the difference you’ll feel when you’re kind to yourself rather than engaging all those negative thoughts.
2. Put your thoughts on paper
When your mind is racing and you can’t get the negative thoughts to shut off, it’s a good idea to practice journaling. Putting your thoughts on paper – physically with a pen and paper, not on your Notes app – helps your thought process to slow down, and can help you make a little bit more sense of what you’re feeling. Even just holding the pen and physically writing in and of itself can be one of the greatest grounding techniques for anxiety. Don’t worry about making it sound good. This journal isn’t going to be read by anyone at all. You don’t even have to write in full sentences. Just dump all your thoughts onto the paper without judging yourself, and feel the stress go away. Self-compassion, remember?
3. Distract yourself when anxiety is high
Sometimes when your anxiety is high, it can be really hard to talk yourself down from it or even get your mind off of it. Doing something you really enjoy that requires a lot of attention can help redirect your attention from your anxious racing thoughts to something else. This is one of my favorite grounding techniques for anxiety because it can really help you get out of your head.
Some ideas of distracting grounding techniques for anxiety are:
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Find what works for you...whatever kind of task that allows your anxious thoughts to take a backseat.
4. Talk to people in the same shoes as you
Sometimes with anxiety and other mental health conditions, you can get so wrapped up in your own head that you feel like you’re the only one dealing with what you’re going through. You can find so much solace in talking to people who get it. It makes you feel validated and much less alone. Plus, sometimes you really just need to vent to somebody who knows exactly what you’re talking about. If you don’t personally know anybody else with anxiety (but I bet you do!) you can turn to online forums like Reddit to find others in your position. This is one of the best grounding techniques for anxiety when you’re feeling lonely.
5. Get moving
Exercise won’t stop your anxiety forever, but you may find that it is a great way to distract yourself and get out any pent-up energy and aggression that you may be holding in your body. This is one of the healthiest grounding techniques for anxiety.
For example, if you’re feeling so stressed that your head might explode, try going on the treadmill or on a run for just 15 minutes, and you’ll likely find that your mind will be so much clearer after. You can even try a quick HIIT workout video from YouTube, or find a video of any type of workout that sounds good to you. Aerobic exercise is scientifically proven to lower levels of stress hormones in your body and release feel-good hormones instead.
6. Practice the SHIFT method
I have devised a method for when you’re feeling super anxious that can help push your stress away. It’s super simple and it works. Just follow the acronym.
For more in-depth instructions for the SHIFT method, check out this blog post.
Remember: you are not alone in this. Anxiety is uncomfortable and unpleasant, but you’ll get through it. I promise you! Looking to make even more positive changes in your life that will result in less stress? Aside from using these grounding techniques for anxiety, you can also reset your life with our challenge. Or, you can rebuild your life from the inside out by taking our course.
Now, go put those grounding techniques for anxiety to good use!
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