*Check out Part One from last week: Get Out of Your Head and Into the Moment- Part 1*
Many grounding strategies can be done anywhere, at any time, without on-lookers being any the wiser. Some other strategies may be familiar forms of exercise or even simple household tasks. Below is a list of a variety of different grounding strategies. This list is by no means comprehensive. A quick internet search will turn up a wealth of different grounding activities, and there are plenty of apps available to coach you through strategies like breathing exercises.
If grounding strategies and mindfulness exercises seem like they could be useful in your life, consider dedicating some time to finding out which ones are the most effective for you. Some people like exercises that help them feel mentally focused. Others feel physical grounding exercises that focus on sensory experiences do the trick. Still others find soothing grounding exercises that focus on self-compassion are the way to go. The next time you're feeling emotionally flooded and ineffective, rate your mood on a scale of 1-10 before and after implementing a grounding strategy. After trying a few different kinds, you might have a clearer picture of what strategies have the greatest impact on your mood. You might need to be physically active, or to spend some time nurturing yourself, or maybe you like a little bit of everything. You're the best judge.
Remember, when enacting a grounding strategy, be sure to make an extra effort to notice things like the way your body feels and the details in your surroundings. Its okay to acknowledge the negative in and around you without judgement or dwelling. For example, tell yourself, "I am feeling very anxious, and that's okay. I'm breathing in as deeply as I can and I can feel my rib-cage stretching in and out with each breath."
Now let's begin with some exercises!
Occupy your mind:
Give yourself a difficult mental task like saying the alphabet backwards, creating a chronological list of all the vacations you can recall, do a math problem without a calculator, or repeat a personal mantra. Some people find the 54321 Game effective: Name 5 things you can see in the room with you, 4 things you can feel (“chair on my back” or “feet on floor”), 3 things you can hear right now (“fingers tapping on keyboard” or “tv”), 2 things you can smell right now (or, 2 things you like the smell of) and 1 good thing about yourself (Source: www.ibiblio.org/rcip//copingskills.html).
Focus on your body:
Do a favorite exercise like yoga or running, walk barefoot, press your heels into the ground, press and release your fingertips together in a patterned sequence, or press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and notice how it feels. Many people also find breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation calming to the body and mind.
Take a hot shower or bath, paint your nails, take time to do your hair in a fancier way than normal, spend time preparing your favorite food. When we're feeling down, it's difficult to dedicate energy to self-care activities, but the rituals can be very soothing themselves and the end results, like a plateful of cookies can help lift your spirits.
Make a long overdue call to a loved one, or go through the process of finding a suitable card, writing a message to someone on your mind, and mailing it. Reaching out in a loving way and doing something kind for others can capture your attention and tends to help us feel better ourselves.
Put yourself to be in an environment in which it would be difficult to stay inside your head - spend time outdoors, sit against a tree and observe nature or people passing by.
Change the bedsheets, clean the bathroom, do the dishes - These activities involve your entire body and can help you focus your attention on the current moment. As an added bonus, although working up the willpower to clean when your dealing with anxiety or depression can be a bit of a battle, many people feel better in tidied home environments and the sense of accomplishment from tackling some chores can help get the ball rolling in other areas of your life.