Your mind is racing. You have so much to do and not enough time to do it. Or maybe you can’t stop thinking about that one conversation yesterday because you feel you really should have said this or that. And now it’s too late and who knows what will happen.
Studies have shown that as your mind races with anxious thoughts, your heartbeat, breathing rate, and blood pressure increase right along with it. When confronted with unpleasant or difficult thoughts, you need a resource you can turn to so you know exactly what to do in that stressful moment of crisis.
Grounding: A Powerful Way to Calm Your Nervous System
Grounding is a mindful coping technique that works to focus your mind on your senses, bringing the present into your awareness and calming your body and mind. Ultimately grounding takes the nervous energy in your mind and distributes it throughout your body, making you feel “grounded.”
We live in a fast-paced society and self-care can be difficult to remember sometimes. We suffer daily from a disconnect between our minds and bodies. Grounding can help us balance that connection, which works as a powerful form of self-care that produces relaxing effects very quickly and efficiently.
Health Benefits of Grounding
Grounding may have many health benefits, both physical and mental. Here are some health benefits of grounding:
- Manages pain
- Lowers stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
- Increases focus
- Encourages positive thinking
- Strengthens your immune system
Simple Grounding Exercise Techniques
Xen is a wellness technology that is designed to deliver gentle electrical signals through specialized earbuds to your vagus nerve. Vagus nerve stimulation sends a message to the brain to generate calming sensations in the body and may promote a relaxed state. Using Xen may make stress more manageable and help your body recover from stressful events. It also may make you feel less anxious and help your body cope with the effects of stress.
Dr. Stephanie Cordes, ND describes the 5-4-3-2-1 technique as a grounding sensory awareness process. Following the 5 steps below can help relax through those anxious thoughts:
- Name 5 things you see in the room.
- Name 4 things you can feel (“my feet on the floor” or “the air in my nose”).
- Name 3 things you hear right now (“traffic outside”).
- Name 2 things you can smell right now (or 2 smells you like).
- Name 1 good thing about yourself.
Close your eyes, cross your arms over your shoulders. Use your pointer and middle fingers to tap lightly on your shoulders for a minute, breathing deeply as you do the exercise. The deep breathing will relax your mind and the tapping will connect your mind and body by bringing your body into awareness.
Take a Walk Outdoors – Barefoot
Not only will the walk get your nervous energy out of your mind and into your body, work your muscles, and improve circulation, but studies have shown doing so while being barefoot can have numerous positive effects on your health. Also known as “earthing,” when you walk on the earth barefoot, you’re walking on the earth’s surface electrons and that transfer of energy to your body has been scientifically shown to improve sleep and lower stress.
When you shower, focus the water on the back of your neck. Keep the warm water running on your neck for a few minutes and focus on how the warm water feels as your muscles release stress and tension.
Listening to music has powerful effects on our mental state. Create a calming playlist of your favorite relaxing songs. When you feel stressed or anxious, pull that playlist out and focus specifically on the different instruments in each song. Don’t forget to add more calming songs to the playlist so you can get a variety of tempos and harmonies to focus on.
Have you ever driven or walked past something and not even realized it was there? Stop and look around when you’re feeling especially stressed. A lot of times, we’re so busy that we don’t notice how pretty the trees look or the statue we go past daily. Stopping to notice these things distracts your mind and replaces anxious thoughts with positive thoughts.
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