We can think of our anxiety as the tide. Our anxiety levels will go in and then they will go out.  This is not dependent on being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder! At times when we feel our anxiety levels are creeping higher than we would prefer, grounding techniques can help bring them back down.  This can be particularly useful when we start to feel panicked or for those of us who experience flashbacks, shutdowns, and/or dissociation.

Grounding is all about bringing our focus back to the present day.  If you do therapy with me, present day thinking and decision making is something we talk about often!  We can use grounding techniques to refocus our mind and reduce our level of distress.  The techniques we try won’t always work right away.  This is really important for you to hear and know as oftentimes clients come back to therapy discouraged when they didn’t work right away.  For the skill to begin coming more naturally, we’ll often have to be consistent in our practice of them.

Grounding techniques don’t remove the source of the ‘trigger’ of our anxiety, and using them isn’t about ignoring our feelings.  They’re a way of helping us to move through our symptoms safely.  Think of grounding as a way to self soothe.  Used early enough, it can help prevent a panic attack from occurring.  Moreover, if we do have a panic attack, grounding can still help us to cope with the attack, both in the moment and afterwards.  Stay tuned for part two when we dive into the skills themselves!

Think of anxiety as the ocean.  It will come and go.  Observe the waves with your toes in the sand.