Anxiety is the feeling of unease, worry or fear. Everyone experiences anxiety during their lives – you may worry about taking an exam for example. But there are peopl who experience these symptoms daily and struggle to control them. Anxiety can take over a person’s life and be a constant struggle.
Anxiety is common in people with chronic illnesses. Our lives often give us lots of extra things to worry about – our health, hospital appointments and tests, eating well etc. Symptoms include overwhelming nausea and sometimes actually being sick, breathlessness, palpitations, trouble sleeping, feeling out of your depth and feeling numb.
Grounding is a simple technique which you cn use during these times to help you feel reconnected and calmer. Today I wanted to share a few of these techniques which I have found help me when I feel an anxiety attack start to come on.
This is one of my favourite techniques and it is really simple. Getting your breathing to steady when you feel anxious is a quick way to begin the process of you feeling calmer. Our breathing often speeds up during an anxiety attack, and sometimes people hold their breath to try and counteract that.
First up, trace a square with your finger in front of you. As you go up the side, breathe in for three seconds. As you go along the top, hold for one second. Down the other side and breathe out for three and then along the bottom hold for anther second. Keep your finger moving steadily so your breathing becomes the same.
This is a common one and is used well by many people. However, I find myself struggling to remember the order which then results in more worrying for me. I suggest writing it down on a small piece of paper which you can keep close at hand, to save that from happening to you!
Name 5 things you can see in the room around you (eg. chair, mirror)
Name 4 things you can feel (eg. the cool breeze on your skin, the leather chair you are sat on)
Name 3 things you can hear (eg. children playing outside, the fridge humming)
Name 2 things you can smell (eg. bacon cooking, perfume)
Name 1 thing that is good about you (eg. I am a great teacher, I am strong)
This can be done siting or standing. For a minute, place all of your focus on the soles of your feet. Pay attention to any feelings or sensations. Yu can also close your eyes if this helps you concentrate
There are different ways you can do this, but this is the one I find easiest and most useful. Think of a catagory and then name as many things as you can relating to it. For example you could choose dog breeds, capital cities, football teams or authors. This will help focus your mind on something oither than what is causing your anxiety.
Again, there are different versions of this, but this is one that’s easy to do. Ask yourself who you are, where you are, what you are wearing etc. These questions and the answers you give will help you focus on the present and reorientate you, bringing you back to yourself.
These five different techniques are all simple and can be used anywhere and I hope they will be helpful to you, like they are to me. If you find your anxiety getting worse or you are struggling wth the effect it is having on your life, please visit your GP and speak to them about it. They can help in many differenmt ways including with talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and/or medication. Nothing should be forced on you and you need to feel comfortable with the plan your treatment will take, but please do go with an open mind.
I am more than happy to discuss this privately as I know how difficult it can be to find someone you can talk to. I will add a comment box to the bottom of this paragraph, you can fill it in and it will send me an email, which I can reply to privately.
If you have any more grounding techniques that work for you, I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Anxiety comes under the umbrella of mental health and should not be something we shy away from discussing. It is very common and you are not to blame. The best way to overcome it is to take the power back, regain control of your thoughts, speak up and get help and support.