A Grounding Practice to use in acute situations
Anxiety can be very difficult to deal with some days.
It’s not logical, so you can’t reason with it, and sometimes it seems like it sneaks up without any warning. We know sometimes we can prepare ourselves before going into situations that we know could trigger us, but when we don’t know it’s going to happen, we need a strategy to help deal. A nice strategy to have is a trigger, that your brain understands as a signal to calm down. In order for this to work though, you need to practice the grounding with the trigger when you are calm. Let’s practice a very simple grounding and trigger than you can then use when you are in a situation when you may not be able to do a full practice to calm the anxiety.
Find a place where you are comfortable and it is quiet.
You can be seated in a chair where your feet are on the ground, or sit on the ground. Before you begin the exercise, I want you to think about your anxiety, and I want you to give it a color, for this example let’s say its red. Now I want you to also choose a color that feels calm and healing to you, let’s say this is white.
In this exercise we are going to combine breathing, visualization, and a trigger.
First, the breathing technique, with each breath in you are going to feel your lower ribcage expand outwards as your lungs fill with air. Your shoulders should be relaxed and not involved in your breathing efforts. Take each breath slowly and deeply, aim for a count of 5 in, through your nose. Each breath out should be slow and relaxed, taking a full count of 5 as well, through your mouth. You are not forcing the air out of your lungs. Now with each breath in imagine a white light, that comes up through the ground, into your feet, that slowly fills up your body. With each breath out imagine the red (anxiety) leaving you body and growing lighter, the white light is taking over and filling each of your cells. Feel Each of your muscles slowly relax as the white light fills the space that the red light is leaving.
Now we add the trigger, as you continue to breathe and visualize, press your thumb and pointer finger together on one hand.
The pressure should be firm but not painful. As you become relaxed and grounded, feel this pressure connecting you to this relaxed state. Continue this exercise as long as you feel is needed to achieve this relaxed state. 3-10 minutes should be all you need. You may choose to add a calming music in the background. Practice this technique 1-2 times every day.
You have now created a trigger to calm your body and mind when stress or anxiety hits.
When you are in a situation where stress or anxiety is provoked, take a few seconds to sit with your feet on the ground, taking a few deep breaths and seeing that red leave you, the white infuse you, and feel your finger and thumb pressed together bringing you back to the state of ease and grounding that you’ve practiced every day.