Everyone has overwhelming experiences or moments, it’s crucial to have tools to help manage stress and anxiety. Grounding exercises are powerful techniques designed to bring you back to a place of calm and control when the world seems to spin too fast. These practices offer a way to reconnect with oneself, and gain more control of mind and body. You may need to try multiple different exercises to find one or two that work best for you.

Deep Breathing

Benefit: Activates the parasympathetic nervous system to induce calm.

When to Use: When feeling overwhelmed or before stressful events.

How to Do: Inhale slowly for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and pause for four. Repeat several times.

Progressive Muscle Relaxations

Benefit: Reduces physical tension that accompanies stress.

When to Use: When feeling physically tense or can’t sleep due to anxiety.

How to Do: Tense each muscle group for five seconds, then relax for 30 seconds. Progress from feet to head.

5-4-3-2-1 Technique

Benefit: Redirects focus from anxiety to the environment, grounding you in the present.

When to Use: During panic attacks or acute stress.

How to Do: Identify five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste.

Guided Imagery

Benefit: Offers mental escape to a peaceful place, reducing stress hormones.

When to Use: When needing a mental break from stress.

How to Do: Visualize a peaceful scene in vivid detail, engaging all senses.

Mindful Walking

Benefit: Combines physical activity with mindfulness to clear the mind.

When to Use: When feeling restless or agitated.

How to Do: Walk slowly, noticing each step, your breath, and your surroundings.

Body Scan Meditation

Benefit: Increases body awareness and releases tension.

When to Use: When stress is manifesting physically or to unwind.

How to Do: Focus on each part of the body, noticing sensations without judgment, starting from the toes upward.

Nature Engagement

Benefit: Nature has a calming effect and can improve mood and focus.

When to Use: When feeling claustrophobic or trapped by your surroundings.

How to Do: Spend time outside, observing the natural landscape, listening to the sounds, and feeling the air.

Affirmative Repetition

Benefit: Reinforces positive self-beliefs and combats negative thought patterns.

When to Use: When self-doubt or negative self-talk arises.

How to Do: Repeat positive and personal affirmations that resonate with your values and strengths.

Artistic Expression

Benefit: Allows for non-verbal processing of emotions and stress relief.

When to Use: When emotions are high and hard to articulate.

How to Do: Draw, paint, or create art that expresses how you’re feeling, using colors and shapes to represent different emotions.