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6 Small Ways to Keep Yourself Grounded

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SMU chapter.

It’s normal to be anxious in college. You’re constantly facing pressure, from school, to family, to friends, to relationships. It can be easy to feel like what is expected of you overtakes what you personally need. Self care can be a tricky concept. We were raised by Baby Boomers and GenXers, people who generally weren’t sold on the idea of taking care of your mental health. We can often get lost in that American idea that we need to be constantly pushing, but let’s be fair   that’s not really sustainable. It’s hard to recognize that you need to keep yourself grounded, but here are some easy ways I’ve found to ground myself when the anxiety gets overwhelming.

Watch Painting Videos

For some reason, whenever I watch a video of people mixing paint, it calms me down. The soft click of the palate knife, the way the colors blend and change together, the absence of harshness it helps me release any tension I have been holding. It’s not the usual stuff you scroll through on Instagram, and it’s not your typical social media experience. If you are unable to let your phone go, try scrolling through Annette Labedzki’s paint Instagram. It’s some of the nicest social media you’ll see all week.



Image by Moriah Raisis


One of the most important things I have done for my mental health is to start a “self love journal.” Journaling is helpful in a million ways. I have a hard time appreciating my own self, and I tend to lean toward self deprecation. Writing small ways I love myself every day has helped me be much kinder. I’ve had to realize that I will always spend my life with myself, so I may as well like that person. You can make each page as pretty or as minimalist as you want. I personally have terrible handwriting, so I like to write in cursive instead. All of my pages have drawings on them, because the process of coloring them really calms me down. Bullet journaling can be a lot of fun, whether for a planner or for writing stories. It’s just mindless enough that you can let your thoughts wander while still feeling productive.

Mind Your Breathing


Image by Fabian Moller


According to recent research by SMU’s own Dr. Alicia Meuret, deep breathing isn’t always the most effective. If you feel like you are going to panic, try breathing as shallowly as you can. I like to do something called “square breathing,” where you breathe in for four seconds, hold your lungs full for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and hold your lungs empty for four seconds. Try doing this for a full minute. Don’t focus on anything else except breathing shallowly and pacing your breaths. Even just a few moments of minding your breathing can help immensely if you feel overwhelmed.

Do a Few Minutes of Yoga

If you still have a hard time with breathing, try some yoga. This will get you up and out of your desk chair or lift you out of bed. Some movement might be exactly what you need. It connects your mind and your body, and it can make you feel truly peaceful. You can do this workout in your dorm room, away from judgmental eyes at the gym. The YouTube channel “Yoga with Adrienne” has some incredible videos, from yoga focused on fat burning to yoga focused on anxiety symptoms. There’s bound to be a good, quick video that can help you really relax and get moving.

Paint Your Nails


Image via Pexels


If you have the time, painting your own nails is a great way to keep yourself busy. It’s a moment of caring for yourself and making yourself feel pretty, which can be very important. It’s calming, it’s easy, it’s relatively mindless, and that small moment of motivated self care can take you a long way.

Visit the SMU Counseling Center

There is a lot of growing focus on mental health in America today, and for good reason. Your mind is the center of all of your activities, and if your mind is sick, then you can’t perform at your best. If you feel like your nerves are becoming too intense, there is no shame in talking to someone about it. You can talk to your friends about how you feel for hours, but there is something truly helpful about talking to an objective clinician about what has been affecting your life. They not only are an open ear, but they also can provide you the tools to cope with these stressors. Visit their website to find out what you might need, and how to schedule an appointment.


Moriah is a Senior at Southern Methodist University majoring in English and Psychology. She is currently the Campus Correspondent of the HCSMU chapter, and has held the positions of Senior Editor, Profile Editor and Associate Editor. She is also a member of the Alpha Xi chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. She loves coffee and satire, and she is not a morning person.