It’s Mental Health Awareness Month! Most of my posts this month will be focused on mental health, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. The endlessly useful Mattieologie podcast reminded me that part of blogging is sharing the lessons that you have learned over time, lessons that maybe you are still learning. What resources do I wish I had when I went through my hardest times? When it comes to mental health, I’ve had a range of experiences that I hope will help my readers. I’ll keep sharing as I myself continue to learn . It’s exciting to be on this journey with you all!
This post is specifically about grounding exercises that can help ease anxious feelings and panic attacks. While doing my research for this post, I realized that I’ve been practicing grounding exercises for so long without even knowing it! When you have spent enough time digging up every imaginable resource to help with anxiety and depression, you tend to run into a few helpful tips. I’ve found these to be the most helpful. I hope that you can connect with them and incorporate at least one of these practices into your life.
Look at yourself in the mirror
This is a quick and extremely effective technique. For a very long time in my life, I hated looking in mirrors. Especially mirrors that were in public places where I didn’t have my beauty arsenal ready to fix any flaw. Mirrors, I thought, would remind me that I wasn’t the beauty I wished I was (eye-roll at old self). Little did I know that looking myself in the eye would only remind me that I’m alive and breathing, pulling my rambling mind back into the present moment. Now instead of avoiding mirrors and when I feel anxious, I seek them out, determined to make my doubts and worries regain some context in the here and now.
Take a shower or bath
I know, I know, you do this every day! At least I hope you do… Baths and showers can be more than practical, they can be rejuvenating! Anxiety and depression can feel like a physical weight and presence on the body. A bath with your favorite essential oil can be just what you need to refresh, relax and center yourself in the present moment. Wash your hair, use an invigorating facial scrub – do whatever grooming routines make you feel clean and beautiful. Take your time, be aware of your posture and your movements. This is also a great time to practice deep breathing and meditation, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
List 5 really positive things in your life
This is a fun one. It gives you a moment to think about all of the most positive aspects of your life and feel grateful. It challenged me to focus only on the good in life, even though my mind had been swarming with negative, anxious thoughts only a minute ago. Sometimes you have to be purposeful in reminding yourself that there is a world outside of your anxiety and it’s wonderful! I wrote my list out in bright pink and I intend to hang it up so that I can see it any time.
Think back to a time where you were less anxious than you are now
I love this one – I love them all that’s why they’re in this post! This tip also plays on bringing you out of your anxious thoughts by suggesting associations that are more positive. This helps me particularly in times of insecurity and fear of failure. I remind myself of my resilience and the ability that I know I have to tell anxiety “No!”
Take deep, slow breaths, letting go of anxious thoughts with every exhale
You can literally do this anywhere at any time. This might sound strange, but I just imagine negative streams of energy leaving me and breathing in all positivity. Adding some kind of visualization helps me concentrate, but feel free to let your mind absorb this exercise however comes most naturally to you. Just like taking a look in the mirror, you’re checking in with yourself. In fact, this is doubly effective if done in front of a mirror, it’s like a 2 for 1!
Use your voice
If anyone saw you talking to yourself they would think you’re c_______. I don’t use the “C” word, but thanks to mental health stereotypes most of us believe that it is abnormal to talk to yourself. It definitely is not! I think that using your voice just to use your voice, speaking so that you can hear a voice – it’s healthy and cathartic. You’re simply voicing your feelings – who cares if there is anyone around to hear? Rid yourself of anxious energy, even if it’s just by singing your favorite song.
I hope that these techniques can help someone through a difficult moment in life. These are only a few grounding exercise that I have personal experiences with, but you should check out Healthy Place for more grounding exercises.
Are there any techniques that you use for grounding yourself in the face of anxiety? Do share!