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12 Grounding Techniques To Relieve Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Anxiety is something we all have experienced at some point in our life.  

Rapid breathing. Mouth drying up. Excessive sweating. Hands shaking.

Everything seems to blur around us.

Thoughts come to us so quickly that it becomes difficult to keep track of them.

Experiencing occasional anxiety is very normal for people. It’s when the anxiety becomes frequent and gives birth to excessive worry and crippling fear about everyday situations, it becomes a serious issue.


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I’ve been living with social anxiety since childhood and I know exactly how difficult it feels. 

Every day seems like a battle, sucking up every bit of my peace and energy, and leaving me all drained out by the end of the day. 

It has never been easy. But giving up is not an option.

And that’s why I want to share with you what has helped me in my struggle with anxiety. 

When you realize that anxiety is actually your mind anticipating the worst possible scenarios with any situation governed by a self-deprecating mindset with low self-esteem, one thing becomes very clear.

You need to bring your anxious self back to the present reality. 

And what is one practice that exclusively teaches you to focus on the present moment?

It’s mindfulness. It makes perfect sense.

Grounding is an excellent mindfulness practice during anxious situations and can be practiced just about anywhere. Grounding helps us to center ourselves to the present moment, by activating our mindful mode and creates a space for us to look at the situation objectively, for what it actually is. 

Practicing grounding when you are in the middle of an anxiety attack can help you return to your senses and take whatever action is necessary. That’s why it can also be a great life skill to have during emergencies.

Here are 12 techniques to practice grounding that has helped me tremendously to handle my anxiety.
I hope they do the same for you.

Physical Grounding Techniques

Count Your Heartbeat

When your heart starts pounding, take a moment to become aware of that. You should be able to feel it pumping rapidly. Simply start counting your heartbeat. You can either place your hand on your heart or measure it by pressing on a nerve. This is a great technique to trick the mind to calm down your breathing.

Breathing Techniques

These four techniques have helped me.

  • Box/Square Breathing or 4-4-4 Breathing: Inhale, hold and exhale for 4 seconds each. Used by athletes, U.S. Navy SEALs, police officers, and nurses, to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Belly or Diaphragmatic Breathing: Breath from the diaphragm. Put your hand on your belly and start breathing. Make sure your hand is being moved as you breathe. This is the easiest way to bring calmness and feel relaxed.
  • Lengthen the exhale: Exhale out and empty your lungs first. Then breathe in normally and exhale for a duration of 6s. Then exhale for 7s, then 8s, 9s, and increase as you continue. Continue pushing your exhaling duration. Within seconds you’ll feel calm and relaxed.
  • Hold the breath: As you breathe normally, start off by holding the breath for 4s. Then hold for 5s, then 6s, 7s, and increase as you continue. This is similar to the last one and is very effective quickly.

Take A Short Walk

If the situation allows you, simply get out and start walking. Look around as you walk or maybe focus on your steps. You can even count them if it helps. This will bring your attention back to the present and reduce your anxiety.

Move In Rhythm

Have you ever walked with one foot on every alternate floor tile? Or, moved in rhythm to the beat of some music? It’s fun and playful. Hence very relaxing. Try to move in rhythm to a beat inside your mind or simply put on music and move with the groove.

Mental Grounding Techniques

Have An Internal Dialogue

I love this technique. 

Whenever I get tensed because of anxious thoughts, I imagine talking to the ‘tensed me’ in a funny way. 

I usually start with, “Whoa! You’re all sweatin’ n shakin’ bro. What’s up! Why are you tense?”

I continue asking ‘why’ questions until the ‘tense me’ realizes the reality of the situation.
It calms me down and actually gives me a boost of confidence to face whatever I was anxious about.

Try this technique by developing your own dialogue and you can keep it funny, motivational, cheerful, or whatever feels convenient. I definitely recommend this one.

Count In Random Order

This is a slick way to trick the anxious mind.
Ever since we learned to count, we’ve been trained to do so in sequence, and because of this mental training, we can do that even without paying full attention to it.

Trick your mind and count in any random order.
Start off by not counting every alternate number like 75, 77, 79. The aim is to simply disrupt any sequence and force your anxious mind to pay attention to counting.
Once you’re done with counting, you’ll observe less anxiety.

Label Your Surrounding

This is a technique similar to the mental noting practice. Mental noting is used to simply label your distractions for what it really is, as thinking in-case of thoughts, hearing for a sound, smelling for a fragrance, etc. This helps to not let your mind attach or identify with the sensation or thought.

Do a similar practice. You can label your sensations and thoughts for simply what they are. Do not allow your mind to associate with them and just keep observing.

You can also label colors or shapes of the things around you if convenient for you.

Anchor Yourself With A Phrase

This is another effective technique to bring your attention to the present. 

You can use something like, “My name is {Your Full Name}. I am {Your Age} years old. My birthday is on {Your Birthdate},” or “Today is {Date} and it’s {time now} and I’m sitting at {place}.”

You can also think about the weather and use how the weather report seems like as the anchor phrase.

Soothing Grounding Techniques

Sensory Soothing (See, Listen, Touch, Smell, Taste)

This is a very effective technique to deal with stress and anxiety. 

Make a list of all the sensory experiences (hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, tasting) you prefer and simply engage with them when you feel anxious or stressed out. This will soothe you both mentally and emotionally.

You can also learn how to make sensory soothing an effective self-care ritual in this article.

Practice Love and Kindness

This can be an effective technique to accept your anxiety and deal with it in a more loving way.

Repeat loving and kind affirmations to yourself:

“This is difficult but I am stronger.”
“This is stressful but I can manage and overcome it.”
“I am loved and I will win over my anxiety.”

Gratitude List

Whenever your mind has wandered off to cultivate anxiety, why not ask it to cultivate gratitude.

Start making a mental list of all the things you are deeply grateful for. Do not forget to include things we take for granted like your house, food that you ate, nice weather, etc.

Sing/Hum Your Favorite Song

Got a favorite song? Start singing it out loud or inside your head. You can also hum if you prefer.
This will not only make you cherish your favorite song but relieve you of your anxiety at the moment.

12 Grounding Techniques To Relieve Anxiety And Panic Attacks - Info Graphic List

Grounding techniques can be incredibly powerful in cultivating mindfulness during the moments you need it.

Next time you get anxious, challenge yourself to gain control back from anxiety by using one of these grounding techniques.


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4 thoughts on “12 Grounding Techniques To Relieve Anxiety And Panic Attacks”

  1. I always look forward to your post, you always seem to be able to find a way to make every time interesting and full of fresh content. i also write on motivation and leadership on my website

    mindtransformer.org

    Reply
    • I’m glad to know these tips have helped you.
      Yes, rain sounds can be simple yet effective soothing music to help with sleep and relieve anxiety as well.
      Thanks for your kind words and take care Julissa!

      Reply

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