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What are Grounding Techniques?

What are Grounding Techniques?

Today, many techniques from the psychology and mental health fields make their way into mainstream conversations in popular culture. Grounding is one of them and includes the idea of centering, reorganizing, or redirecting the self in some way or another. Anyone interested in slowing down, bettering their health, and stabilizing their physical, mental, and emotional sensations can engage in grounding. 

Depending on the source, you may see different definitions of grounding: 

  • Some people think of grounding from a spiritual or nature-centered angle. The practice involves attempting to connect your physical body to the Earth’s electrical energy fields. 
  • Others in the healthcare space view grounding as the practice of coping with extreme anxiety or panic by employing a specific tactic to reorient yourself to the present moment. 

We’ll briefly dive into the ins and outs of spiritual Earth grounding practices soon, but our main interest in grounding here at Miramont Behavioral Health lies in the meditation and mindfulness space.

Grounding Techniques To Cope With Anxiety, Panic, and Trauma 

We find that grounding, an act of managing destabilizing or spiraling thoughts, is another tool that benefits patients who struggle with suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, and dual diagnoses. Individuals dealing with trauma also find grounding helpful for combating intrusive thoughts or flashbacks. 

The key to grounding lies in the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The techniques that follow work to calm you, distract you, and bring you fully into the present moment.  

Types of Grounding Techniques That You Can Practice

The most popular grounding tasks utilize breathwork, bodily senses, and visualization methods.

The Power of Visualization 

Many people like to imagine their intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or compulsions as some type of object. Some visualize the knob of a radio and imagine turning the dial down–creatively lowering their thoughts or feelings to a more manageable volume. 

like to visualize their unwanted thoughts or feelings traveling down to and concentrating in their hands. They then ball up their fists and, upon unclenching them, release those negative emotions. 

Different individuals prefer to use guided imagery meditations with apps that narrate a scene or construct a safe space where negativity can be locked out of a visual house or blocked by a visual wall. 

Using The Five Senses

Especially effective for those coping with bipolar disorder or panic attacks, grabbing a pen and paper to perform the following exercise can be appealing, stimulating, and a sustainable go-to for self-soothing:

  • Slowly scan the room for five things that you can see: write them down in the order that you see them.
  • Scan for four different objects that you can touch. If you’re able to touch them at that moment, do so and jot down one word that describes their texture. If you can’t touch them, simply note the four objects.  
  • Close your eyes and note three things that you hear: jot them down.
  • Take a deep breath and try to distinguish two smells: take note of them. 
  • Scan for one item that’s edible or would probably have a distinctive taste. Write down the name of the object and how it might taste.

Inhaling and Exhaling To Find Center

A great place to start is inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth deeply and for as long as possible. Repeat this in counts of 10. One, inhale through the nose; two, exhale from the mouth; three, inhale through the nose; four, exhale from the mouth, etc. Once you reach ten, repeat the process until you’re calm. 

Many enjoy quicker results placing the hands on the belly or chest to note the rise and fall of the breath. 

Grounding With The Earth

While we’re not sure if there are concrete psychological benefits to this method, we know it can be a great distraction, an interesting area to research, and an excuse to get a little vitamin D. People who prioritize grounding to the Earth’s electrical field often walk barefoot, touch the ground or soil with their bare hands, submerge themselves in a natural body of water, or lie flat on their back outside on the dirt. You can practice all previous forms of grounding while also performing these actions. 

Ground Yourself With Miramont Behavioral Health in Wisconsin

Whether you attend our inpatient treatment or our outpatient program, we can educate you on grounding techniques for coping with an array of mental health disorders. When you contact us today, we’ll point you in the direction of the best options and professionals for your unique situation. Our centers in Middleton and Waukesha are passionate about our clients with the tools they need to enjoy their lives to the fullest!

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